TAYLOR, Isidore-Justin-Séverin, Baron (1789-1879), Charles NODIER and Alphonse de CAILLEUX. Voyages pittoresques et romantiques dans l'ancienne France. Paris: Firmin Didot frères for Gide and G.Engelmann, 1820-1878.
19 volumes in 21, 2° (540 x 343 mm). Approximately 2,815 (of about 3,000) engraved and lithographic plates, most printed on Chine and mounted, numerous lithographic vignettes and borders throughout by Bergeret, Bichebois, Bonington, Chapuy, Ciceri, Daguerre, Fragonard, Géricault, Ingres, Isabey, Sabatier, Taylor, Vernet, Villeneuve, Viollet-le-Duc, and many others (see below for approximate counts per part). (Some spotting or browning, mostly marginal but heavier in some volumes.) Similar but not uniform late 19th-century red half morocco over cloth or marbled boards, spines gilt, top edges gilt (extremities rubbed, upper joint splitting Languedoc vol.I). Provenance: Bellamy Storer (bookplate in Auvergne vol.2); sold Sotheby’s New York, 4 December 1996, lot 191.
The set comprises:
Ancienne Normandie. 1820-1825-1878. 3 volumes. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes, pictorial title-page in vol.1, section-titles, 411 plates, including 7 plates in vol.1 in 2 or 3 states and approximately 30 plates before letters in vol.3, list of plates in each volume, subscriber’s list in vols.1-2. (Title-page in vol.2 detached.)
Franche-Comté. 1825. Half-title, letterpress title-page with lithographic vignette, section-title, frontispiece, 154 plates, list of plates and subscriber’s list.
Auvergne. 1829-1833. 2 volumes. Half-title in vol.1, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes, section-titles, frontispiece in vol.1, 253 plates, list of plates in each volume, list of subscriber’s vol.2.
Languedoc. 1829-1834-1835-1837. 2 volumes in 4. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes (printed on Chine in Vol.1 part 1), lithographic section-title in vol.1 parts 1 and 2, frontispiece, text within elaborate historiated lithographic borders incorporating arms, medallions and vignettes, 546 plates, list of plates in each volume, subscriber’s list vol.2 part 2.
Picardie: 1835-1840-1845. 3 volumes. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes, pictorial section-title vol.1, section-titles vols.2-3, text within elaborate historiated borders, 471 plates, list of plates in each volume, subscriber’s list vol.3. (Half-title vol.3 backed.)
Bretagne. 1845-1846. 2 volumes in 3. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes in 2 vols. (lacking in vol.2 pt.1), section-titles, frontispiece, 352 plates, list of plates and subscriber’s list vol.3.
Dauphiné. 1854. Half-title, letterpress title-page with lithographic vignette, section-title 172 (of 175?) plates, list of plates.
Champagne. 1857. 1 (of 2?) volume in 2. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes, section-titles, 297 (of 416?) plates. (Lacking text beyond page 363 and 119 plates per Vicaire’s collation, without list of plates or subscriber’s list as called for by Vicaire.)
Bourgogne. 1863. 1 volume in 2. Half-titles, letterpress title-pages with lithographic vignettes, section titles, 155 (of 180?) plates (including a dozen or so photolithographs), list of plates vol.2.
“One of the most ambitious publication ventures of all time and the first French topographical work to rely solely on lithography” (Twyman). According to Beraldi, Voyages pittoresques represented a major achievement in the history of lithography. Indeed, the large number of artists involved has led to the claim that it is among “the greatest of all publications illustrated with lithographs” (Ray I, p.165). “Taylor’s intention had been to cover the whole of France in his survey, but in the event he was able to describe only nine provinces. The pace of the edition slowed as the years went by. His time was pre-empted by other work; and there were complaints about the heavy subsidy which the publication required” (Ray I, p.164). By 1837, 10 volumes had been published; the rest appeared over a period of 41 years. Owing to these factors, complete sets of the Voyages pittoresques are extremely rare, and plate totals provided in bibliographical resources are approximations only. Twyman suggests that a complete set comprises 20 volumes and, by his estimation, some 2,700-3,000 plates.
The present set represents THE MOST COMPLETE SET TO COME TO AUCTION IN AT LEAST THE LAST 75 YEARS. Beraldi XII, 90; Brunet V:684; Ray I, 165; Twyman Lithography 18100-1850 Chapter 15; Vicaire 762-770.