L'HERITIER de Brutelle, Charles Louis (1746-1800). Stirpes novae, aut minus cognitae, quas descriptionibus et iconibus illustravit. Paris: Philippe-Dionysius Pierres, 1784-1785[-1791].
6 parts in one volume, broadsheet folio (515 x 360mm). Letterpress general title and part title to 'Fasciculus 5'. 90 engraved plates only (of 91), 88 finely hand-coloured over a colour-printed base, 2 uncoloured but folding, by Jacquaes Juillet, Charles Milsan, François Hubert, Malewre and others after Pierre-Joseph Redouté (54), L. Fossier, L. Freret, James Sowerby and others, plates numbered 1 to 84 with 6 bis plates. (Lacking uncoloured plate 30 bis, preliminary leaf numbered [iii-]iv, and text leaves numbered 182-184[-?185], small old stain to upper blank margin of plate 59 bis, plate 77 somewhat browned, plates 81 and 84 [the two folding uncoloured plates] somewhat spotted.) Early 19th-century green morocco gilt by J. Mackenzie, covers with decorative border of fillets and roll tools including an arabesque roll, spine in six compartments with false raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with overall repeat pattern made up from small tools, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
FIRST EDITION OF L'HéRITIER'S FIRST BOTANICAL PUBLICATION WITH ENGRAVINGS. The very rare deluxe hand-coloured issue with plates produced under Redouté's supervision and coloured in his studio. The number of coloured copies issued is not known, Stafleu and Cowan note that 'Some copies have coloured plates', and only the de Belder copy is listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty five years. Hunt considered the book to be one of the 18th century's 'more delightful flower books ... splendid in its spacious descriptions, its charming exotic plates, its implications for taxonomic history'. The 6 fascicles were issued with pagination but leaves unsigned. Of the 91 plates, showing such extraordinary fidelity to detail, 54 were contributed by Redouté, 25 by L. Fréret, 4 by L. Fossier, while the remainder are after Prévost, P. Jossignoy, Claude Aubriet, J.C. Bruguière, and James Sowerby. Although he never completed the work for which at least 120 plates were projected, L'Héritier's main purpose was 'to describe, in most cases portray, and classify (according to the Linnean system) plants that were either new or had gone largely unnoticed.' A jurist and amateur botanist, he allowed Redouté access to his magnificent botanical library, and it is from L'Héritier, as Johnston says, that Redouté 'learned the finer points of scientific botanic illustration. Brunet III, 1043; Dunthorne 246; Great Flower Books (1990) p.64; Hunt 673; Cleveland Collections 555; Nissen BBI 1190; Pritzel 5268; Redouté 1; Stafleu and Cowan,4484.