"THE FAME OF LA QUINTINYE AND HIS WORK AT VERSAILLES WAS SOON SPREAD FAR": EXCEEDINGLY SCARCE 1701 EDITION IN ENGLISH OF LA QUINTINYE'S COMPLETE GARD’NER—"BY FAR THE MOST IMPORTANT OF THE 17TH-CENTURY TREATISES ON FRUIT GROWING"—WITH COPPER-ENGRAVED FRONTISPIECE & NINE ENGRAVED FOLDING PLATES, IN CONTEMPORARY CALF BOARDS
DE LA QUINTINYE, Monsieur. The Complete Gard'ner: Or, Directions for Cultivating and Right ordering of Fruit-Gardens, and Kitchen Gardens… The Third Edition, Corrected. London: Andrew Bell, 1701. Octavo, contemporary full paneled brown speckled calf sympathetically rebacked, raised bands, original red morocco spine label; pp. (3), i-xxxv, (1), 1-48, (2), 35-309, (7). $2600.
1701 corrected edition in English of the 1690 first French edition by Louis XIV's Chief Director of royal gardens at Chantilly, Rambouillet and Versailles—"the most detailed work at the time upon fruit trees and their culture"—containing the section on Melons not present in the French edition. Drawing on John Evelyn’s 1693 first English translation, this exceptionally scarce edition is one of the first issued by famed English "nurserymen London and Wise but was probably Evelyn's own work," featuring copper-engraved frontispiece and ten engraved plates (nine folding), in rarely found contemporary paneled calf boards.
La Quintinye, Chief Director of all the gardens of Louis XIV for nearly 40 years, had intended a legal career but turned his thoughts to gardening after traveling to Italy. "He was called on his return by Louis XIV to create the fruit and vegetable gardens at Chantilly, Rambouillet and Versailles. For the royal table at Versailles every kind of fruit was wanted in perfection, and La Quintinye supplied this both in and out of season… The fame of La Quintinye and his work at Versailles was soon spread far, and he visited England, where he met John Evelyn, who later translated his book (in 1693)" (Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, V.40:418-19). La Quintinye's "great 'Jardin Potager' or kitchen garden, at Versailles… exists almost unaltered to this day. Here he introduced his famous method of training fruit-trees on espaliers" (Sieveking, Praise of Gardens, 370). Of his French contemporaries, "La Quintinye is their most original and meritorious writer on horticulture" (Loudon, Encyclopedia of Gardening, 493).
La Quintinye's work "is by far the most important of the 17th-century treatises on fruit-growing. With a few notable exceptions books on this subject written even as late as the middle of the 17th century quoted in all seriousness the absurd old beliefs, many of them dating from classical times. In La Quintinye's fine book there is no mention of these beliefs… Louis XIV had a profound respect for the 'Director General' of his fruit and kitchen gardens. Perrault records that when La Quintinye died, the King went immediately to offer his sympathy in person to Madame de La Quintinye. 'You and I know,' he is reported to have said, taking her hand, 'that we have to bear an irreparable loss. There will never be another La Quintinye'" (Sinclair Rohde, Story of the Garden). The initial French edition of La Quintinye's "great work, Instruction pour les Jardins potagers et fruitiers, was published in 1690, two years after his death, and was the most detailed work at the time upon fruit trees and their culture… The great length of the work and the tedious repetition of some parts made an abridgment obviously desirable. This was provided by the famous nurserymen London and Wise, but was probably Evelyn's own work." It was primarily through the London and Wise edition "that the precepts of La Quintinye became generally known" (Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society, V.40:418-19). Containing copper-engraved frontispiece, along with one in-text and ten engraved plates (nine folding). With section on Melons not present in the French edition. As issued with Contents at rear; unnumbered "advertisement of J. Evelyn, Esq; to the folio edition" between pp. xiv-xv. Occasional mispagination without loss of text. ESTC T107738. Henrey 221. See Wing L431-432B; Lowndes 2030. Early armorial bookplate.
Interior generally fresh and bright, contemporary paneled calf boards expertly restored.