• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 7725

    Valuable Printed Books and Manuscripts, Including Fine Plate books from an Historic Continental Library

    3 June 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 201

    BOISSERÉE, Sulpiz (1783-1854). Ansichten, Risse und einzelne Thiele des Doms von Köln [atlas]. -Geschichte und Beschreibung des Doms von Köln [text]. Stuttgart: Boisserée and Cotta [text printed by Didot, Paris; plates by Durand & Sauvé, Paris and Felsing, Darmstadt], 1821-23[-30].

    Price Realised  

    BOISSERÉE, Sulpiz (1783-1854). Ansichten, Risse und einzelne Thiele des Doms von Köln [atlas]. -Geschichte und Beschreibung des Doms von Köln [text]. Stuttgart: Boisserée and Cotta [text printed by Didot, Paris; plates by Durand & Sauvé, Paris and Felsing, Darmstadt], 1821-23[-30].

    2 volumes, elephant 2° plate atlas (1070 x 745mm), 2° text (550 x 410 mm). 18 engraved plates, including engraved title with vignette panorama of Cologne, after Schinkel, Moller, Quaglio, M.H. Fuchs, and others, by Duttenhofer, Rauch, Sellier, Lesnier, and others, plates 11 and 12 hand-coloured. Half-title in text volume, text diagrams. (Some spotting to plates, mostly marginal, short marginal tears in two plates, text spotted.) Contemporary red roan elaborately tooled in gilt and blind, olive endpapers, gilt edges, tissue guards (atlas volume scuffed, short tear at upper hinge, front flyleaf torn).

    A MAGNIFICENT COPY OF A 'MAGNIFIQUE OUVRAGE' (Brunet). It is exceptional in every sense - size, scale, quality, ambition, importance - and 'all other engravings of Gothic buildings pale beside [its] achievement' (Robson-Scott, p.275). Cologne Cathedral had rested unfinished since building work stopped in 1560, and it was chiefly owing to Boisserée's campaign that work re-commenced in 1823. Goethe added his support to the project on seeing the first large plate; his enthusiasm continued unabated and he declared Moller's interior view (plate XVI) a masterpiece. It is among the most artistic and beautiful of any cathedral view.

    Boisserée began his measurements and drawings in 1808 and exactitude is a hallmark of the work. Two of the original medieval architectural plans were found in the course of preparing the Domwerk, proving Boisserée's accurate interpretation, and a better ground plan was not published until 1988. Firmly believing stained glass and stonework to be integral to the cathedral design, Boisserée paid particular attention to these features. Two plates reproduce stained glass; they are the first illustrations of the Dom windows, and they depict some glass now lost. Complementing the majesty of the engravings, Boisserée's text provides 'one of the most important literary documents of the Gothic Revival in Germany' (Robson-Scott, p.279).

    Boisserée chose the best artists and engravers to produce the work, had it printed at Paris (3 plates were printed by Felsing at Darmstadt), and issued it in 4 fascicules of plates and 2 of text. It was published simultaneously in French; the plates are captioned in both French and German. Brunet I, 1072; A. Wolff, 'Ansichten, Risse und Einzelne Thiele des Doms von Köln', in Kunst als Kulturgut, Bonn: 1995: 185-196; cf. Himmelslicht, exhibition cat., Cologne: 1998, no. 83. (2)


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Special Notice

    No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium.