24 June 2009
BERGERET, Jean Pierre. Phytonomatotechnie universelle, c'est-a-dire l'art de donner aux plantes des noms tirés de leurs caractères; nouveau systême au moyen duquel on peut de soi-même, sans le secours d'aucun livre, nommer toutes les plantes qui croissent sur la surface de notre globe. Paris: chez l'auteur...Didot le jeune...Poisson, 1783-1784 [-1786].
3 volumes in 26 (of 27) parts, 2o (420 x 275 mm). 310 engraved plates (of 320, lacks part 22 with 10 plates), printed variously in green, red or brown ink and colored by hand, by and after [G. P.?] Poisson. Original publisher's paper wrappers, 11 with the original printed paper labels (2 defective), the first 10 parts comprising volume one, in a contemporary portfolio, uncut (some light chipping and splitting to wrappers).
FIRST EDITION. Very rare. The 1783 prospectus announced the publication of 100 plain and 100 colored copies. Bergeret devised a system of naming plants with a combination of letters each of which would denote a particular characteristic. This mnemonic system, typical of the period of the Enlightenment, would allow universal recognition and would establish a universal nomenclature without recourse to botanical texts. As Stafleu remarks: "The 'noms tirés de leurs caractères'... are formulae and cannnot be considered as names under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature... the plants are anyhow regularly described under the 'normal' Linnaean names." Bergeret originally planned to publish 30 parts, but parts 21 (which would have included the title of volume III), 29 and 30 were never published. Great Flower Books, p. 50; Nissen BBI 145; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 456.
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