BUFFON, Georges Louis Marie Leclerc, comte de (1707-1788). Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du roi... nouvelle édition. Vols.I-XV, XXXI-XXXVI: Amsterdam: J.H.Schneider, 1766-1771, 1774-1779; vols.XVI-XXX, XXXVII-[?]XXXVIII: Dordrecht: A. Bluss et fils, 1796-95-1799, 1799-[n.d.].
38 volumes, 4° (275 x 225mm). Engraved portrait by J. Houbraken after Drouais, 1157 plates, maps and tables (comprising: 1144 plates [7 folding], 1 folding table, 12 maps [10 folding]), 31 title vignettes and 36 head-pieces, by C.F.Fritzch, B.de Bakker, C.Buys, J.van Schley and others, ALL FINELY HAND-COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND (Volume numbered 38 without title [?as called for], the final plate in vol.XVI cut-down and mounted and lower margin of a4 in vol.I replaced, both at the time of binding, very occasional light staining.) Early 19th-century red half morocco, spines gilt (occasional light scuffing to extremities). Provenance: Napoleonic départment stamp for Bouches de la Meuse (Netherlands, on title of vol.I) -- H. de Vries (booksellers, Haarlem, booklabels).
A FINE SET IN ITS RAREST AND MOST COSTLY STATE. The periodic avis to the subscribers mentions copies on grand papier, but there is no mention of hand-colouring. Landwehr, in his notes on the first edition in Dutch (no.46, issued by the same publishers), quotes contemporary sources which mention four issues: normal paper, large paper, copies with coloured plates and (most expensive of all) copies with plates and vignettes hand-coloured. No finer copy with contemporary colouring has sold at auction since Christie's Amsterdam, June 17 1982, lot 108 (in contemporary boards, with portrait and 1156 plates and maps). The present copy appears to have remained in boards, or unbound, for a period of time and was bound about 1810. The colouring is meticulous and gives an additional dimension to the fine plates. Nissen ZBI 678 (calling for 1130 plates). (38)