Traité des Arbres et Arbustes qui se cultivent en France en pleine terre.

Eur 3,500 / USD 3,800
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Paris, H.L. Guerin & L.F. Delatour, 1755. 2 volumes. 4to (270 x 210mm). pp. (4), lxii, 368; (2), 387, with 4 (3 folded) engraved plates, 250 full-page woodcuts and 190 small engravings (of botanical details) in the text. Contemporary half calf, marbled sides (second volume spine with unskilled restorations).

great French classic on trees and shrubs with the famous Matthiolus woodcuts

A large uncut copy, with plates in mint condition of the first edition of this great French classic on trees and shrubs with the famous Matthiolus woodcuts. During the seventeenth century engraving on metal began to replace woodcuts in botanical illustration, but the Mattioli blocks were so outstanding that they were bought by a French botanist of the following century, Henri Louis Duhamel du Monceau (1700-82), who used a hundred and fifty-four of them to illustrate the two volumes of his 'Traité des Arbres et Arbustes' in 1755.
As he said in his preface, 'J'ai eu le bonheur de recouvrer presque toutes les planches de la belle édition latine de Matthiole de Valgrisi: les Imprimeurs de mon Ouvrage ont fait graver avec soin celles qui y manquoient'. The hundred or so extra woodcuts of post-Mattioli plants may have been done with care, as he says, but they are incredibly stiff and lifeless, looking like the work of unskilled amateurs in comparison with that of Liberale and Meyerpeck. A number of Duhamel's woodblocks of Mattioli were rediscovered some time ago and were offered for sale by Antiquariaat Junk, but are no longer available.

Provenance: Free endpaper with manuscript inscription 'J. De Selijs La bibliotheque du Chateau De La Libre et franche Baronnié de la terre souveraine de Fanson... anno 1762'.

Nissen BBI, 547.