KNIP, P. & TEMMINCK, C.J.
Les Pigeons, par Madame Knip, née Pauline de Courcelles, Premier Peintre d'Histoire Naturelle de S.M. l'Impératrice Reine Marie-Louise. Le texte par C.J. Themminck.
Paris, Mme Knip & Garnery, (1809-) 1811. Large-folio (517 x 345 mm). With 87 engraved plates, printed in colour, some heightened with gold and finished by hand. Contemporary full red morocco, richly gilt decorated spine in 6 compartments, sides elaborately tooled borders incorporating scallop shells and flowers, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges.
A superbly bound copy, bound by Wright of the most splendid and sumptuously produced work on pigeons, made possible by patronage of the Empress Marie-Louise. "Among the finest of all bird plates" (Fine Bird Books, p. 86 attributing the maximum rate of 3 stars to this work). The most beautiful work ever published on pigeons, of which the second volume is hardly ever present. "A noted work, stolen from Temminck, the original author, by Madame Knip, the artist, who suppressed the titles and introductory matter and substituted others of her own ... Of the original folio of Temminck, entitled 'Histoire Naturelle Générale des Pigeons', only twelve copies were seen and approved by Temminck, eight of which he retained himself" (Zimmer p. 356-58). Pauline Knip née Pauline Rifer de Courcelles (1781-1851) was a French bird artist. She studied art under Jacques Barraband. The alterations to the title of the work have led to problems in taxonomy, how the authors are to be cited for species described in them and the dates of publication to be considered (especially when applying the principle of priority in the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature). When the work was being prepared, Temminck lived in Holland and de Courcelles lived in Paris and was relied upon to supervise the engraving and printing. Madame de Courcelles was a friend of Marie Louise, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte and had royal patronage. Temminck discovered the alterations only after 1812 and found that he could not complain about the piracy because of her powerful friends. He however added the following note: 'Tous les moyens mis en oeuvre pour appeler contre un acte si arbitraire, furent sans effet, et ma voix ne put alors s'élever contre l'intrige soutenue par des protecteurs puissants' on the matter at the end of the third and last volume of his 1815 work 'Histoire naturelle générale des pigeons et des gallinacés' . The misspelling of Temmincks name in both the first and the second edition of the first volume was most probably a teasing by Madame Knip. The numbering of the pages is erratic, but the number of leaves is the same as given by Zimmer and Ronsil. The half-title was discarded by the binder. Some occasional foxing at the beginning of the book. Anker 261; Nissen, IVB 511; Ronsil 2890.
Item nr. 9844
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