Album de Pomologie.

Eur 32,000 / USD 35,200
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Bruxelles, Deprez-Parent, 1847-1851. 4 volumes. Oblong-folio (232 x 315mm). With 3 identical handcoloured lithographed additional titles with elaborate pictorial border and 191 (1 double-page) handcoloured lithographed plates. Contemporary green half calf, richly gilt ornamented spines with gilt lettering, gilt lettered label on frontcover (very slightly rubbed).

the rarest pomological work ever published

Most probably the rarest pomological work ever published. It is so rare that, apart from the Oak Spring Pomona catalogue by Sandra Raphael and 'the Literature of Pomology' by E. Bunyard, it is not mentionned in any of the other botanical bibliographies. Bunyard describes the work as follows: "(It) is of great value as it contains coloured plates and accurate descriptions of many of Van Mons' seedlings, and it forms a wonderful record of the great number of new fruits which were at this time being raised in Belgium". The beautifully handcoloured lithographed plates, neither artist nor lithographer has signed them, show mostly 2 varieties of fruit side by side on one plate. 139 plates show pears, 13 apples, 5 grapes, the rest plums, peaches, cherries, gooseberries, strawberries, rasberries, a medlar, and a nectarine.
The Oak Spring Pomona Catalogue mentions 49 coloured plates in the first volume making a total of 192 plates for the complete work. Our copy is similar to a copy offered for sale some time ago in Germany and 2 other copies we have sold in the past, with 48 plates in the first volume, and a total of 191 plates. The only other copy we were able to trace was a copy Quaritch offered for sale in the nineteen-twenties, with the same number as our copy.
In the first half of the 19th century the colour printing from stone dominated the scene of botanical illustration and the Belgian lithographers reached the ultimate in craftsmanship, in a period that Belgium was one of the main horticultural centres in Europe.
"Not many complete sets of the 'Album' seem to have survived. The de Belder copy, sold at Sotheby's in London on 27 April 1987 and described in the sale catalogue (lot 27) as 'a pomological rarity', had only three volumes and 137 plates, like the copy in the Lindley Library of the Royal Horticulural Society. There is no copy at all in the British Library, the library of the British Museum (Natural History), or the library of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, but there is at least one other full set in America, in the library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society in Boston" (An Oak Spring Pomona, 53). Apart from some occassional foxing, mostly confined to the text, a good copy.