1829 FIRST EDITION OF MILBERT'S LANDMARK HUDSON RIVER ATLAS IN ELEPHANT FOLIO, WITH 54 BEAUTIFUL LITHOGRAPH VIEWS AND DOUBLE-PAGE HAND-COLORED MAP
MILBERT, Jacques-Gerard. Itineraire Pittoresque du Fleuve Hudson et des parties laterales de l'Amerique du Nord. Paris: Henry Gaugain et Cie., . Folio (21 3/4 by 14 1/4 inches), original three-quarter red diced calf and red paper-covered boards, gilt-stamped spine. $16,800.
First edition of this outstanding series of American views, which "constitute a unique and valuable record" (Sherman) of the natural splendors to be seen along the Hudson River, in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and at Niagara Falls, with lithographed title page, 54 lovely lithographed views, and large double-page hand-colored map.
"The painter Milbert set out for the United States in 1815 as a correspondent of the Museum of Natural History in Paris. He remained for seven years, sending back to France almost 8000 specimens of American flora and fauna. He also brought home many sketches from which… lithographs for his book were made by such artists as Adam, Bichebois, Sabatier, and Villeneuve. For the most part they are views of the Hudson river and the towns along its course, though other northeastern states receive some attention. The powerful influence of the [Itineraire Pittoresque] on French topographical lithography is every where evident in these plates. Indeed, their scenic panoramas, falls, rapids, and striking rock formations are so relentlessly picturesque that the eye welcomes occasional city views like that of Church Street in New York City (plate 3) or the house of the first Dutch governor of Albany (plate 14). It is clear, however, that the three views of Niagara Falls (plates 34 to 36) were the successes of the series" (Ray, The Art of the French Illustrated Book 110). "As an artist, Milbert loved to paint American landscapes, particularly those which showed the Hudson, 'King of Rivers,' flowing majestically through the mountains… The pictures of what he saw, as of the time he drew them, constitute a unique and valuable record" (Sherman). While most of the plates depict scenes in New York State, including New York City, West Point, Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs, and Niagara Falls, also included are fine views of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. The hand-colored double-page map includes the northeastern United States from Ohio east to Maine and from Virginia north to the Great Lakes, as well as a significant portion of Canada; an inset depicts the Hudson River region. The 54 lithograph plates include one unnumbered plate, often lacking. Atlas volume only, without the two French-language text volumes. Howes M592 "c"; Sabin 48916. Brunet III, 1713. Graesse IV, 522. cf. Streeter II, 910.
Plates and map clean and bright, occasional light marginal foxing not affecting plates; edges of contemporary binding with light expert restoration. Beautiful, important, and scarce.