Chromolithographed frontispiece (710 × 555 mm) View larger
Chromolithographed frontispiece (710 × 555 mm)
  • Chromolithographed frontispiece (710 × 555 mm)
  • "Isamboul Grand Spéos-Paroi Sud" (plate XV), drawn by Pierre-François Lehoux (1803-1883). Sheet dimensions 555 × 710 mm
Champollion (Jean François), 1790-1832

Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie, d’après les dessins exécutés sur les lieux sous la Direction de Champollion-le-Jeune, et les descriptions autographes qu’il en a rédigées; publiés sous les Auspices de M. Guizot et de M. Thiers

Paris, Imprimerie et Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères, 1835-1845
A fine set in the original sheets of Champollion’s famous publication reproducing the wall paintings and hieroglyphs recorded in Egypt and Lower Nubia during his expedition in 1828-1829 with the Italian scholar Ippolito Rosellini. Although the “Ordre des Quatre Volumes des Planches” (inserted in volume I) calls for 511 plates, the number of plates in a “perfect” set is uncertain. The present copy contains 504 plates and is lacking four plates known in other copies and another four plates listed in the tables of contents, but doubtfully issued. The copy “bien complet de la Bibliothèque d’Art et d’Archéologie de l’Université de Paris” also contains 504 plates (collated by Seymour De Ricci). In comparison, the British Library copy contains 505 plates (our collation); the copy in the Royal Academy (London) also has 505 plates (collation on library OPAC). All copies offered in the market in recent years have been smaller; the Blackmer copy (as collated by Leonora Navari) contains just 495 plates.
Subjects
Archaeology, Ancient Near East & Egyptian
Egypt - Description and travel
Authors/Creators
Champollion, Jean François, 1790-1832
Artists/Illustrators
Lehoux, Pierre-François, 1803-1892
Printers/Publishers
Didot, Ambroise, Hyacinthe & Frédéric (Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères), active 1827-?
Other names
Champollion-Figeac, Jacques-Joseph, 1778-1867
Rosellini, Ippolito, 1800-1843

Champollion, Jean François
Figeac 1790 – 1832 Paris

Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie, d’après les dessins exécutés sur les lieux sous la Direction de Champollion-le-Jeune, et les descriptions autogra­phes qu’il en a rédigées; publiés sous les Auspices de M. Guizot et de M. Thiers.

Paris, Imprimerie et Librairie de Firmin Didot Frères, 1835–1845

Four volumes, broadsheets (710 × 555 mm), (119, 125, 115, 171) ff., comprising lithographed fron­tispiece, (24) ff. letterpress, and 504 (of 512?) lithographed plates, lacking four plates known in other copies and another four plates listed in the tables of contents, but doubtfully issued.1

i: (1) chromolithographed frontispiece lettered Monuments de l’Egypte et de la Nubie par Champollion le Jeune; (2) printed title-page, dated 1835 (transcribed above); (3–5) printed Explication des planches. Tome premier (calling for frontispiece and 111 plates numbered 1–101 with ten interpo­lated plates: 16 bis, 38 bis, 53 bis, 55 bis, 57 bis, 57 ter, 58 bis, 91 bis, 91 ter, 96 bis); (6–7) printed Préface de l’Éditeur; (8) printed Ordre des quatre volumes de planches (calling for frontispiece and 114 plates in volume i, adding 17 bis, 32 bis, 54 bis to above series), (9–119) plates numbered 1–10, 12, 14–101, 16 bis, 17 bis, 38 bis, 53 bis, 54 bis, 55 bis, 57 bis, 57 ter, 58 bis, 91 bis, 91 ter, 96 bis, of which twenty-five are printed partly or entirely in colours (nos. 3, 12, 14–16, 16 bis, 17, 26–29, 34–36, 45, 54, 59, 73, 78, 80–81, 86, 91 ter, 92–93; of these, plate nos. 80, 91 ter are not indicated as coloured in the Explication des Planches. Tome premier).

ii: (1) printed half-title Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie. Tome deuxième; (2) printed title, dated 1845; (3–6) printed Explication des planches. Tome deuxième (calling for 121 plates, numbered 102–200 with twenty-two interpolated plates: 101 bis, 101 ter, 101 quater, 122 bis, 122 ter, 139 bis, 139 ter, 145 bis, 145 ter, 145 quater, 145 quinquies, 145 sexies, 145 septies, 145 octies, 148 bis, 148 ter, 149 bis, 150[a], 150 bis, 150 ter, 155 bis, 191 bis), (7–125) plates numbered 102–178, 180–200, 101 bis, 101 ter, 101 quater, 122 bis, 122 ter, 139 bis, 139 ter, 145 bis, 145 ter, 145 quater, 145 quinquies, 145 sexies, 145 septies, 145 octies, 148 bis, 148 ter, 149 bis, 150[a], 150 bis 150 ter, 191 bis, of which four printed in colours (nos. 144, 164, 168, 174). Included is a duplicate impression of plate 131.

iii: (1) printed half-title Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie. Tome troisième; (2) printed title, dated 1845; (3–5) printed Explication des planches. Tome troisième (calling for 111 plates, numbered 201–300 with eleven interpolated plates: 214 bis, 214 ter, 220 bis, 230 bis, 252 bis, 272 bis, 272 ter, 272 quater, 272 quinquies, 294[a], 294[b]), (6–115) plates numbered 201–295, 297–300, 214 bis, 214 ter, 220 bis, 230 bis, 252 bis, 272 bis, 272 ter, 272 quater, 272 quinquies, 294[a], of which seven printed in colours (nos. 258, 260–264, 266).

iv: (1) printed half-title Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie. Tome quatrième; (2) printed title, dated 1845; (3–6) printed Explication des planches. Tome quatrième (calling for 166 plates, numbered 301–446 with twenty interpolated plates: 327 bis, 348 bis, 349 bis, 349 ter, 349 quater, 363 bis, 377 bis, 377 ter, 377 quater, 381 bis, 381 ter, 393 bis, 403 bis, 404 bis, 428 bis, 428 ter, 428 quater, 437 bis, 437 ter, 437 quater), (7–171) plates numbered 301–446, 327 bis, 348 bis, 349 bis, 349 ter, 349 quater, 363 bis, 377 bis, 377 ter, 377 quater, 381 bis, 381 ter, 393 bis, 403 bis, 404 bis, 428 bis, 428 ter, 428 quater, 437 bis, 437 ter, 437 quater, of which thirteen coloured (nos. 350–354, 361, 362, 363 bis, 393 bis, 426, 428 ter, 428 quater, 429) and one (349 bis) a double-plate.

These errors of numeration appear in this copy: plate 122 ter (wrongly numbered 122 bis), 149 bis (wrongly 149), 191 bis (wrongly 191), 324 (wrongly 314), 332 (wrongly 331 bis), 363 bis (wrongly 363), 388 (wrongly 338), 393 bis (wrongly 313), 404 bis (wrongly 404), 440 (wrongly 340). Plate 440 is present in volume iv, despite the Explication des planches. Tome quatrième indicating it was not published (‘Sujet réserve pour le texte des notices descriptives’); the plate is called for in the Ordre des quatre volumes de planches with the error in its numeration (340 instead of 440) noted.

The sheets loose, as issued, and overall in remarkably fine state of preservation. Occasional marginal tear (few with early repairs), very infrequent spotting and browning.

preserved in four modern cloth boxes.

A fine set in the original sheets of Champollion’s famous publication reproducing the wall paintings and hieroglyphs recorded in Egypt and Lower Nubia during his expedition in 1828–1829 with the Italian scholar Ippolito Rosellini.

The publication was jointly conceived by Champollion and Rosellini, and a prospectus for it was circulated in October 1831 by the publishers Dubois, Didot, Treuttel & Würtz. The authors projected ten volumes of text and another ten of plates (‘format grand atlas’), to be issued in forty fascicules, each of ten plates accompanied by text (in French, or in Italian).2 After Champollion’s sudden death (4 March 1832), his elder brother Jacques-Joseph Champollion-Figeac took over editorial duties; Rosellini, meanwhile, commenced publica­tion of a parallel work, based largely on the same materials.3

Chromolithographed frontispiece (volume i)
‘Ibsamboul | Grand Spéos-Paroi Sud’ (i, pl. xv), drawn by Pierre-François Lehoux (1803–1883)

When the first livraison of Monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie appeared in May 1835, it was comprised of ten plates and no text, the publication of which had been postponed.4 Only with the 48th livraison, issued in June–July 1844, did subscribers receive text, in the form of excerpts (entitled Notices descriptives) from Champollion’s journal.5 The work was eventually ‘completed’ in fifty-two (or fifty-four?) livraisons of plates; publication of the Notices descriptives was suspended in 1848, revived in 1869, and completed in 1889.6

Although the ‘Ordre des Quatre Volumes des Planches’ (inserted in volume i) calls for 511 plates, the number of plates in a ‘perfect’ set is uncertain. The present copy contains 504 plates; the same number is in ‘l’exemplaire bien complet de la Bibliothèque d’Art et d’Archéologie de l’Université de Paris’ collated by Seymour De Ricci.7 In comparison, the British Library copy (our collation) contains 505 plates;8 and the copy in the Royal Acad­emy also 505 plates (collation on opac).9 Copies offered in the market in recent years have all been smaller; the Blackmer copy (as collated by Leonora Navari) contains 495 plates.10

references Seymour de Ricci, ‘Essai de Bibliographie de Champollion le Jeune (1790–1832)’ in Recueil d’Études Égyptologiques dédiées à la mémoire de Jean-François Champollion à l’occasion du centenaire (Paris 1922), p.776; André́ Jammes, Les Didot: trois siècles de typographie et de bibliophi­lie, 1698–1998, catalogue of an exhibition, Bibliothèque historique de la ville de Paris, 15 May–30 August 1998 (Paris 1998), p.72 no. 176

1. These eight plates are missing in the numbered sequences of the ‘Lists of plates’:
i /11: Bas-relief representing ‘Le pharaon Rhamsès iii, le Grand, frappe de sa hache d’armes un groupe de prisonniers asiatiques’, from ‘le grand temple d’Ibsamboul, en Nubie’; indicated as coloriée in the Explication des Planches. Tome premier, and as a plain plate in the Ordre des Quatre Volumes de Planches.
i /13: Bas-relief representing ‘Le pharaon Sesostris, monte sur son char de guerre’, from ‘le grand temple d’Ibsamboul en Nubie’; indicated as coloriée in both the Explication des Planches. Tome pre­mier and Ordre des Quatre Volumes de Planches.
i /32 bis: not included in the Explication des Planches. Tome premier; announced in the Ordre des Quatre Volumes de Planches, as representing the ‘Grande Galerie ou Vestibule d’Ibsamboul’. No plate 32 bis is in the British Library copy, or Royal Academy copy; according to Navari, op. cit., it was not published.
ii /155 bis: with three figures, ‘No. 1. Figure d’un étranger asiatique, qui fait partie du triomphe d’un pharaon. No. 2. Peintures qui ornent le dessous des sandales des rois, et qui représentent un Asiatique et un Africain captifs. No. 3. Autres peintures analogues’. No plate 155 bis is in the British Library copy, Royal Academy Library copy, or in the copy collated by Seymour de Ricci; according to Navari’s collation, however, the plate is present in the Blackmer copy (op. cit.).
ii /179 with two figures of ‘Inscriptions dédicatoires des architraves des colonnes de gauche du palais de Ménephtha Ier, à Kourna’ (Explication des planches. Tome deuxième). In the Ordre des Quatre Volumes de Planches this plate is listed with the note ‘(le sujet de cette planche fait partie du texte des notices descriptives)’. No plate 179 is in the British Library copy, or Royal Academy Library copy; according to Navari, op. cit., it was not published. The plate is reported present in ‘l’exemplaire bien complet de la Bibliothèque d’Art et d’Archéologie de l’Université de Paris’ collated by De Ricci.
iii /294[b] representing ‘Le même roi [Ménephtha i], coiffé du pschent inférieur, frappe d’une massue un groupe de prisonniers, personnification des provinces d’Asie et d’Afrique soumises par le pharaon’ (Explication des planches. Tome troisième), ‘Karnac à Thebes’ (Ordre des quatre volumes de planches). According to Navari, op. cit., plate 294[b] was not published: ‘This [plate] is recorded in the list of plates but the actual description in the text seems to be a duplicate of plate 294. Also this plate does not occur in the British Library copy. There is the possibility that it did not in fact appear’. The plate is reported, however, in the copy in the Royal Academy.
iii /296 apparently not published: ‘Les sujets de cette planche seront figurés dans le texte des Notices descriptives’ (Explication des planches. Tome troisième), ‘Sujets réservés pour les Notices’ (Ordre des quatre volumes de planches). No plate 296 is in the British Library copy, or Royal Academy Library copy; according to Navari, op. cit., ‘no. 296 not used’.
iv/403 ter called for in the Ordre des quatre volumes de planches, but absent in the Explication des planches. Tome quatrième. No plate 403 ter is in the British Library copy, or Royal Academy Library copy; according to Navari, op. cit., ‘plate 403 ter in the list of plates did not appear’.

2. Les monuments de l’Égypte et de la Nubie, considérés dans leurs rapports avec l’histoire, la religion et les usages civils et domestiques de l’ancienne Égypte, décrits d’après les recherches faites dans ces contrées durant les années 1828 et 1829 par les deux commissions scientifiques française et toscane, et publiés sous les auspices des gouvernements de France et de Toscane; par MM. Champollion jeune et H. Rosellini (Paris 1831). See Bibliographie de la France, no. 41, 8 October 1831, p.577 no. 4708 (prospectus): ‘Il se composera de 400 planches format grand atlas, distribuées en 40 livraisons, et de 10 volumes de texte (le français imprimé à Paris, l’italien à Pise). Chaque livraison de 10 planches coûtera 20 [fr.]. Les dix volumes de texte, ou français, ou italien, au choix des souscripteurs, sont compris dans ce prix. La première livraison paraitra en janvier, les autres de mois en mois’.

3. I monumenti dell’Egitto e della Nubia, disegnati dalla spedizione scientifico-letteraria toscana in Egitto; distribuiti in ordine di materie, interpretati ed illustrati dal dottore Ippolito Rosellini (Pisa: Niccolò Capurro, 1832–1844).

4. Bibliographie de la France (no. 19, 9 May 1835), p.296 no. 2538 (première livraison): ‘In-folio d’une feuille, plus 10 pl. […] prix 12 [fr.] 50 [cent.] L’ouvrage formera 4 volumes grand in-folio renferment 400 planches la plupart coloriées, et deux volumes in-4° de texte. Il y aura 40 livraisons. Chaque livraison de 10 pl. coûtera 12 [fr.] 50 [cent.]. Le texte sera livré en 6 ou 8 portions également distribuées par localité. La ouvrage entier, texte compris, coûtera 500 [fr.].’

5. Le Moniteur de la Librairie 3 (1844), ‘Bulletin d’Annonces, N° 23, 10 août 1844’, p.3: ‘Nouvelles publications de la Maison Firmin Didot Frères, des mois de juin et juillet 1844’ – ‘Monuments de l’Egypte et de la Nubie. 48e livraison, contenant les Notices descriptives conformes aux manuscrits autographes, rédigés sur les lieux, par Champollion le jeune. 1re livraison. Petit in-folio Prix de la livraison 12 [fr.] 50 [cent.] (Ces Notices descriptives formeront 4 livraisons ou parties publiées dans le format de la Grammaire égyptienne et du Dictionnaire hiéroglyphique du même auteur).’ Didot advertised the 49th livraison in November 1844 ‘contenant les Notices descriptives. 2e cahier’.

6. Joseph-Marie Quérard, La Littérature Française Contemporaine, 1827–1844, edited by Charles Louandre and Felix Bourquelot (Paris 1846), ii, pp.573–574 no. 9: ‘4 vol. grand in-folio, avec planches (675 fr.). Ce magnifique ouvrage a été publié en 54 livraisons’.

7. According to De Ricci’s collation, op. cit., the copy lacks four plates known in other copies (nos. 17 bis, 155 bis, 179, 332) and the four plates listed in the table of contents, but doubtfully issued (i/32 bis, iii/294 bis, iii/296, iv/403 ter); yet he states ‘507 planches’ and not ‘504’.

8. The British Library copy (shelfmark 745.f.8) lacks three plates known in other copies (nos. 155 bis, 179, 290) and the four plates listed in the tables of contents, but doubtfully issued (i/32 bis, iii/294 bis, iii /296, iv/403 ter).

9. The Royal Academy copy lacks three plates known in other copies (nos. 155 bis, 179, 248) and three plates listed in the tables of contents, but doubtfully issued (i/32 bis, iii/296, iv/403 ter).

10. The Blackmer copy lacked thirteen plates known in other copies (nos. 15, 101, 179, 269, 272 ter, 294 bis, 300, 363 bis, 426, 428 bis, 428 ter, 428 quat, 429), plus another four plates listed in the tables of contents, but doubtfully issued (i/32 bis, ii/296, iii /294[b], iv/403 ter). See Leonora Navari, Greece and the Levant: the catalogue of the Henry Myron Blackmer collection of books and manuscripts (London 1989), p.66 no. 309; Sotheby’s, ‘The library of Henry Myron Blackmer ii’, London, 11–13 October 1989, lot 469.

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