REGNAULT Nicolas François (1746-c.1810) and Genevive de Nangis REGNAULT (b.1746). La Botanique mise a la portée de tout le Monde: ou collection des Plantes d'usage dans la Médecine, dans les Alimens et dans les Arts. Paris: the author and Didot le jeune, -1774-.
3 volumes, large 2° (480 x 355mm). 3 hand-coloured engraved titles, 472 hand-coloured engraved plates by or after the Regnaults (i.e. 3 plates of botanical details numbered I-III, 469 unnumbered plates, one engraved leaf 'Introduction la Botanique' printed recto and verso. (Very minor fore-edge margin dampstaining to about 30 plates in vol. II, with 3 more heavily affected, one plate and one text leaf creased at corner in vol. III, titles with contemporary ink ms. notation of the volume's respective alphabetic contents, 'A-E' etc.) Contemporary calf- backed boards, gilt spines with green and red morocco lettering-pieces, tooled thistles, vellum tips, red edges (boards scuffed and extremities lightly rubbed, splits to joints at head and tails, tiny puncture hole to top compartment and small hole to bottom compartment of vol. I)
'PERHAPS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE FRENCH BOTANICAL BOOK OF THE PERIOD' (Blunt & Stearn, p.171). The authors concentrated on plants that were useful, initially limiting the work to plants with medical uses but eventually including edible plants and others of a wider use to man. The vast majority of the plates were drawn from life and a significant number are printed in brown. All show the subject plant, with a section of root and details of flowers and fruits, and underneath each image an identification by their common names, in as many European languages as possible. The facing single page of text includes an identification of the plant according to the classification systems of Linnaeus, Tournefort and Adanson, a botanical description of the plant followed by its uses, then general comments including historical references.
The present copy shows some variation (as usual) in the peripheral text, and includes: the 'Avertissement' leaf at the beginning of vol. I, and the 3pp. 'Table des Noms' concluding with the 'Privilge du Roi' dated 1780 at the end of vol. I. However, it does not have the additional printed leaf headed 'La Botanique ... ordre de la Distribution' (noted in the Plesch copy), nor the 1p. table of names of plants included in the 'Supplement' (i.e.vol. III; cf. the copy sold in these rooms Oct 19, 1999, lot 39). Blunt & Stearn, p.171; Johnston 517; Dunthorne 256; Great Flower Books (1990), p.131; Nissen BBI 1600; Pritzel 7475; Stafleu & Cowan 8810. (3)