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Plantarum succulentarum historia. Ou Histoire naturelle des plantes grasses.Paris, Pierre Didot l'ainé, 1799-[1804]. 2 volumes bound as 1, issued in 24 parts. Royal folio (52 x 34 cm). With 144 stipple-engraved colour-printed plates (inked à la poupée), finished by hand, 142 by Pierre-Joseph Redouté and 2 by his younger brother Henri-Joseph Redouté. Late 19th-century richly gold- and blind-tooled green morocco, gold-tooled turn-ins and board edges, printed turquoise imitation marbled endpapers, with gold veins added separately, gilt edges.
Dunthorne 241; GFB, p. 53; Hunt, Redoutéana 6 & pp. 12-19; Nissen, BBI 321; Plesch, pp. 169-170; Pritzel 1463; Stafleu & Cowan 983; Stiftung für Botanik 182. First edition of a visually magnificent and scientifically and technically ground-breaking work on cacti and succulents, set in a larger type and printed (in only 100 copies) on larger paper than the nearly simultaneous second edition, and overseen and retouched by the artist Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840) himself: deservedly one of the most famous works in the history of botany and botanical illustration. It was the first work illustrated wholly by Redouté and his first using the technique of colour-printing later used for his famous Roses and other works: each image was printed from a single stipple-engraved plate, carefully and subtly inked in colour à la poupée and retouched by Redouté after printing. The quality of the result was therefore partly dependent on the time and skill devoted to the inking and printing, and in the 100 copies of the present first edition, Redouté oversaw the inking and printing himself. Although Redouté was not the first to use this technique, he is generally credited with its perfection. The present book first established his reputation: his "most important work, and from the point of view of technique and of pure colour printing Redouté's masterpiece" (Dunthorne). It includes many species of cacti and succulents native to the Cape of Good Hope, the Barbary Coast, Egypt, North, South and especially Central America and almost all parts of the world, including Egypt, Madagascar, the East Indies and even New Zealand, China and Japan.With an occasional minor and mostly marginal blemish, including some small marginal tears, some repaired, and foxing in the last few text leaves, but still in very good condition, nearly all of the plates fine. The binding is slightly worn, mostly at the hinges, but still very good. The first, best and most luxurious printing of Redouté's masterpiece, with 144 beautifully and subtly colour-printed cacti and succulents, retouched by Redouté himself.
      [Bookseller: ASHER Rare Books (Since 1830)]
Last Found On: 2015-03-14           Check availability:      NVvA    

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