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CHARLES LOUIS L'HERITIER DE BRUTELLE (1746-1800)
CHARLES LOUIS L'HERITIER DE BRUTELLE (1746-1800)

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CHARLES LOUIS L'HERITIER DE BRUTELLE (1746-1800)

Stirpes novae, aut minus cognitae, quas descriptionibus et iconibus illustravit. Paris: Philippe-Dionysius Pierres, 1784 [-1791]. 6 parts in 2 volumes, broadsheet folio (535 x 360mm). 91 engraved plates, numbered 1 to 84 with 7 bis plates. (Plates 78 and 80 with small waterstain at upper blank margin, pp. 53-54 with small section torn away at lower corner.) Uncut in contemporary calf-backed boards (spines restored, modern calf corners). Provenance: M. Alexandre Duval (title to volume I with signed presentation inscription from the author's son to "M. Alexandre Duval, Membre de l'academie franaise le 6. Novembre 1824"); Ashton Allis (bookplate and his extensive collation notes in ink on verso of front free endpaper).

FIRST EDITION OF L'HRITIER'S FIRST BOTANICAL PUBLICATION AND THE FIRST WORK TO BE ILLUSTRATED WITH ENGRAVINGS AFTER PIERRE JOSEPH REDOUT. 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; and fascinating as an imposing piece of 18th-century book-making, with its series of fascicles printed on broadsheets, its bibliographical algebra." The 6 fascicles were issued with pagination but leaves unsigned. Of the 91 plates, showing such extraordinary fidelity to detail, 54 were contributed by Redout, 25 by L. Frret, 4 by L. Fossier, while the remainder are after Prvost, P. Jossignoy, Claude Aubriet, J. C. Bruguire, and James Sowerby. Although he never completed the work for which at least 120 plates were projected, L'Hritier'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 Redout access to his magnificent botanical library, and it is from L'Hritier, as Johnston says, that Redout "learned the finer points of scientific botanic illustration." Brunet III, 1043; Dunthorne 246; Great Flower Books p. 64; Hunt 673; Johnston, Cleveland Botanical 555; Nissen BBI 1190; Pritzel 5268; Redout 1; Stafleu & Cowan III, 4484. (2)
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