FIRST EDITION OF THIS SCARCE PLATEBOOK CONTAINING 16 RICH COPPER-ENGRAVINGS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND MAPS— THE FIRST FRENCH IMPRINT TO NAME THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
(AMERICAN REVOLUTION) PONCE, Nicolas and GODEFROY, François. Recueil d’estampes représentant les différents événemens de la Guerre qui a procuré l’Indépendance aux Etats unis de l’Amérique [Collection of Engraved Plates Representing Various Events in the War that Brought Independence to the United States of America]. Paris: Ponce & Godefroy, circa 1784. Slim quarto, 19th-century blue pasteboard. $8200.
First edition of the first French book to name the United States on its title page, with 16 full-page copper engravings of momentous Revolutionary battles, including the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the defeat of Burgoyne at Saratoga and of Cornwallis at York, and commemorating the signing of the Treaty at Versailles in 1783, complete with two plates of maps.
This elegant volume of 16 copper-engraved plates showing major scenes from the American Revolution is the first French book bearing a title page that acknowledges the “Etats unis de l’Amérique.” “Enthusiasm for the American Revolution ran high in France in the 1780s and many works of art reflected it” (Standen, Metropolitan Museum Journal, 255). This striking edition is one of the very earliest to feature such works of art, and contains fine engravings after contemporary French painters. These detailed images depict the 1774 tarring and feathering of a British customs officer in Boston, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the American victory at Saratoga in 1777 that marshaled French support, and key scenes of French and Spanish victories over the British. Especially notable is the “Reddition [Surrender] de l’armee du Lord Cornwallis” at York. The group concludes with the signing of the Versailles Treaty in 1783. The Précis title page further offers vignettes and text on the “13 Provinces déclarerent leur indépendance et se confédérerent en République par un Acte du 4 Octobre 1776.” With Précis and numbered plates 2 through16 with tissue guards, engraved by François Godefroy, Engraver to His Imperial Majesty, from paintings by Le Barbier, Fauvel, William, Lausan, P.C. Marillier, Le Paon and others. Included are two map plates (often missing): one of the eastern United States, the second showing four maps—of Florida, Senegal, the “Isle Minorque” (Menorca), and the “Isle de Tabago” (Tobago)—indicating territorial concessions of England granted by the Treaty of 1783: Senegal and Tobago to France, and Menorca and Florida to Spain. Text in French. Howes C576. Lewine, 447. Sabin 68421.
Fine condition. Scarce.