JEAN-JACQUES ROUSSEAU’S LA BOTANIQUE, WITH 65 LOVELY STIPPLE-ENGRAVED COLOR PLATES BY PIERRE-JOSEPH RÉDOUTÉ, “AMONG THE GREATEST OF FLOWER PAINTERS”
(RÉDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph) ROUSSEAU, Jean-Jacques. La Botanique. Paris: Baudouin, 1821. Large quarto (10 by 14 inches), contemporary full green calf gilt rebacked with original spine laid down, elaborately blind-stamped boards, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt. $11,000.
Second large quarto edition of this splendid early 19th-century botanical work, with 65 lovely stipple-engraved tissue-guarded plates by Rédouté (of flowers, fruit, etc.) and engraved by Bouquet, Chailly, Delelo, Gabriel, de Gouy, and others, printed in colors and finished by hand.
A wonderful series of botanical prints after works by the celebrated 19th-century master, Pierre-Joseph Rédouté, over 40 of which show full-page images of flowers and fruit trees (the rest depicting multiple images on a single page), including familiar flowers commonly known as the crocus, tiger lily, narcissus, digitalis, snapdragon, sweet pea, Queen Anne’s lace, dandelion, and aster, and such flowering fruit trees as the pear, peach, and plum. “Rousseau’s interest in botany was awakened in 1763 or 1764, shortly after he had gone to Switzerland. Following the current fashion he made various collections of plant specimens or herbaria, two of which are known to have been given to Madame Delessert and her daughter Marguerite-Madeleine. Subsequently, the Lettres elementaires sur la botanique were written for Marguerite-Madeleine, at the request of her mother” (see Stafleu). This botanical treatise was first published in Paris in 1771, but it was in 1805 that the first edition with the plates engraved after Rédouté’s paintings was published, in folio. It was also issued that year in a quarto format; this is only the second quarto issue, followed by another in 1822. With 159 pages of text in French, a one-page table and seven pages containing Explication de Planches. Great Flower Books, 134. Nissen 1688. Bookplates of Lynde Selden, vice chairman of American Express.
Interior expertly cleaned with scattered light foxing, contemporary calf binding expertly restored with spine lightly toned. A beautiful volume.