First edition of Selden’s description of twenty-nine Greek and ten Latin inscribed stones in the collection of Thomas Howard, second Earl of Arundel (1586-1646). These had been acquired by Arundel from an agent in Symrna in 1626-1627, in competition with the Provençal scholar Nicolas-Claude Fabri de Peiresc. Selden’s book, prepared with help from the royal librarian Patrick Young (Junius) and Richard James (Cotton's librarian), spread the fame of the collection throughout learned Europe.
Fine set of this uncompleted work documenting ancient sites and scenes from daily life observed during the author’s travels in 1785-1787 through the Ottoman Empire. Few copies contain much (if any) text and the number of plates varies from about 170 to 192 (the latter total in an unidentifiable copy cited by Cohen-De Ricci). Our copy contains 178 plates (plus five duplicate plates). The copy in the British Library contains 40 leaves of text and 180 plates; the same number of plates is reported in the Blackmer copy. The copy in the British Architectural Library contains 179 plates avant la lettre and its cataloguer speculates that the total number of plates published was 183 (all 180 plates present in the British Library copy, plus plates numbered 23 bis and 109 bis in volume I, and a plate numbered 77 bis in volume II). At the Getty Research Institute is a collection of documents, manuscript material, and drawings, made in preparation for the publication; it is said to contain “a letterpress title page, indices, tables for the arrangement of prints” and “190 printed proofs”.
Magnificent copy of the first edition of Denon’s account of his travels in Egypt as a participant on Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign, combining topographical observations with the first comprehensive and accurate descriptions of ancient Egyptian architecture. The work was an instantaneous success, enjoyed an extensive circulation in several languages, and had an extraordinary impact on the architecture and decorative arts in the opening years of the new century. “With its publication the nineteenth-century Egyptian Revival began in earnest” (James Stevens Curl).
Fine copy of the first edition, with plates printed on a thick paper, mounted on guards and interleaved with card, features designated by Abbey as denoting a copy of an early issue (Abbey’s own copy was a late issue, post-1818).
Paris, Librairie de Firmin Didot père et fils, 1827-1828
First edition of an account of the author’s exploration of Cyrenaica, accomplished between November 1824 and July 1825. On his return to France, Pacho claimed a prize of 3000 francs sponsored by the Société de Géographie in Paris for an account of that part of ancient Libya. A prospectus for the work was circulated in July 1826, projecting fourteen fascicules: four parts of text, imposed in quarto; and ten of plates, in folio, each fascicule priced on papier ordinaire 10 francs and on papier vélin with the engraved plates on papier de Chine 20 francs (“Après le Ier janvier 1827, les prix seront augmentés d’un tiers”). The first fascicules were issued in April 1827; one fascicule of text and three of plates had yet to appear when on 26th January 1829 the author committed suicide. This copy is printed on papier ordinaire, as was the only copy seen in the market in recent times. The same plates were coloured in all copies.
Paris, Giard (Imprimerie de Jules Didot l’Aîné), 1830-1833
First edition of a detailed, day-to-day report of the author's exploration of Petra in 1828, illustrated with a fine series of lithographs after his own drawings, and after drawings by his travelling companion, the engineer Louis Maurice Adolphe Linant de Bellefonds, known as Linant Pasha (1799-1883). For at least ten years, until the publication of David Roberts's lithographs, Laborde's illustrations were the only graphic representation of Petra available in the Western world. In this copy, the lithographs are printed on india paper and mounted, as in the Blackmer, Atabey, and Botfield copies; in another issue, they were printed directly on the sheets.
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.
Paris, Publiés par l’Auteur (Imprimerie Lithographique de Lemercier; Typographie de Firmin Didot Frères), 1846-1855
Fine, complete copy of one of the earliest publications with illustrations based upon daguerreotype originals. In 1842, Girault de Prangey embarked on an ambitious tour of the Mediterranean, travelling through Greece, Asia Minor, Egypt, Palestine, and Syria. He had begun to experiment a year before with Daguerre’s invention, and took with him a custom-made daguerreotype camera. After travelling for more than two years, he returned to France in early 1845, and began work on a comparative history of Islamic architecture featuring illustrations based on his archive of nearly 900 daguerreotypes, of which some 250 recorded the principal archaeological sites, landscapes, and people of Egypt. According to advertisements, Monuments arabes d’Égypte, de Syrie et d’Asie mineur was projected in twenty to thirty livraisons, each priced sixteen francs, and containing four lithographs printed in two tints accompanied by historical and descriptive text. Only six parts were issued before the publication was abandoned. Although inventoried by the Count de Simony in 1937, and by Helmut Gernsheim in the 1950s, the great majority of Girault de Prangey’s daguerreotypes remained in their original plate boxes, receiving little attention until quite recently. After a large group of plates was seen in the auction rooms, in 2003, it was widely realised that the lithographs illustrating Monuments arabes d’Égypte, de Syrie et d'Asie mineur had been based directly on these daguerreotypes, the artists tracing over the photographic images.
(28 cm), 194 (18) pp., illustrations (some in colour). 1097 lots. List of prices realised and buyers’ names loosely inserted. Publisher’s printed boards. - Collection of books on the Levant gathered by Camille Aboussouan, Lebanese ambassador to UNESCO. “The quality of this large collection was various, some good, others less so, others again rather spoiled by the owner’s conspicuous device stamped on bindings and title pages… The top price was £26,000, paid for a set of drawings of the Levant, made c. 1839 for the Prince de Joinville, serving in the escadre de l’est of the French navy” (from a saleroom report in The Book Collector, Autumn 1993, p.401). ¶ Annotated in ink; partly priced.