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Pierre-Joseph Redouté — Jardin de la Malmaison

Jardin de la Malmaison Jardin de la Malmaison

Folio (20 6/8 x 13 6/8 inches). Letterpress title-page, half-title, dedication leaf (index leaf and errata leaf not present). 120 fine hand-finished, color-printed stipple engravings after Pierre-Joseph Redoute by J. B. Dien, P. F. Legrand, L. J. Allais, and others (small MHS inked stamp on each plate not affecting image, occasional minor spotting and soiling, small nick in right margin of plate 111). Modern brown calf gilt, spine with black morocco lettering-pieces, center panels of nineteenth-century calf gilt covers and dentelles laid down, modern marbled endleaves. Provenance: with the19th-century engraved bookplate of Library of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society dated 1869 on the front pastedown. "the great opus of Redoute . among the most important monuments of botanical illustration ever to be published" (Stafleu in Hunt/Redouteana) First edition. "This series of one hundred and twenty colored plates, plus the series of over five hundred plates in his "Les Liliacees", constitute the highest peak of Redoute's artistic and botanical achievement . They have well-proportioned full-page illustrations which suit the size of the page: the lay-out and relative proportions of paper and drawing are in perfect balance. The execution of the presswork and of the hand retouching . is superb . "Les Liliacees" . surpasses in size but only equals in beauty of the "Jardin de la Malmaison" (Stafleu). "Jardin de la Malmaison" was sponsored by the Empress Josephine, and its plates depict specimens from her gardens, which Ventenat praised in his dedication as a conjunction of "the rarest plants of the French soil [and] the sweetest souvenir of the conquests of your illustrious consort." Redoute had, as pupils or patrons, five queens and empresses of France, from Marie Antoinette to Josephine's successor, the Empress Marie-Louise. Despite many changes of regime in this turbulent epoch, he worked without interruption, eventually contributing to over fifty books on natural history and archaeology. Purchased at Grogan sale rooms February 2010. Dunthorne 255; Great Flower Books 147; Hunt/Redouteana 12; Nissen, BBI 2049; Pritzel 9734; Stafleu & Cowan 16.007; cf. Oak Spring Flora 61.

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