CASSAS, Louis François (1756-1827). Voyage pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phoenicie, de la Palestine, et de la Basse Egypte. [Paris: 1799].
Large 2° (565 x 380mm). 183 engraved plates, comprising 178 (of an uncertain number) and 5 duplicate plates (2 in vol. 2 and 3 in vol. 3), several folding and double-page. (Light mostly marginal spotting, light wear to deckle edges, bifolium of text browned.) Unbound in the original sheets with deckle edges, in a 20th-century green leather-backed chemise and box.
FIRST EDITION. A TALL COPY, UNCUT IN THE ORIGINAL SHEETS. Cassas's monumental pictorial account of his travels in the Middle East was commissioned by the French ambassador to the Ottoman court. Cassas travelled in Egypt, Asia Minor, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Cyprus, drawing many sites which had never been recorded in print before. He also drew scenes from daily life, including a desert caravan, a wedding, and street scenes. The work was intended to comprise 330 plates, with accompanying text, but only 30 parts were issued, without a title page, and with text to accompany the first seven parts only. The present set includes the bifolium of text which accompanied the first delivery of plates. Copies vary in the number of plates: Atabey considers 'around 180' as standard. Atabey 201 (179 plates); Blackmer 295 (178 plates; wrongly described as 180); RIBA 580 (183 plates); Brunet I, 1616; Cohen-de Ricci 204-5 (173 plates, and also mentions an unspecified copy with 192); Monglond IV, 993-1005 (180 plates).