3 June 2009
CHAMPOLLION, Jean François (1790-1832). Monuments de l'Égypte et de la Nubie. Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, 1835-1845.
Atlas only, 4 volumes, broadside 2° (715 x 555mm). With half-titles when called for. Chromolithographic additional title and 505 lithographic plates, including a duplicate (of c.512; 4 of the missing plates known in other copies, and the other four listed in the table of contents but possibly not issued) of which 28 hand-coloured, 17 chromolithographs, and one folding. (Some spotting, even browning in some of the hand-coloured sheets, a few marginal tears, a very few of these with old repairs.) Loose as issued, preserving the upper side of seven original printed paper wrappers, the gatherings of text each with 20th-century linen spines, each volume in a 20th-century green morocco- backed chemise and slipcase (four of the paper covers mounted on the inside of the chemise).
FIRST EDITION IN THE ORIGINAL SHEETS OF CHAMPOLLION'S SPECTACULAR ATLAS OF HIEROGLYPHS, comprising an uncommonly high complement of plates. Champollion had succeeded in deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs using museum collections, and planned the journey that produced the present book in order to confirm his findings in situ with a broader range of source material. He traveled along the Nile from Alexandria to Aswan, gathering and reproducing hieroglyphic material along the way - much of which had not been published before, as is the case with most of the material from the Nubian temples. Because of a complex publication history, bibliographies do not agree on the number of plates in a complete set, but De Ricci describes 'un exemplaire bien complet' which includes 507 plates (located at the University of Paris Art and Archaeology Library). Both the Blackmer copy and that seen by Brunet comprise fewer plates than the present copy. Blackmer 309 (499 plates only, though possibly less); Brunet I, 1780 (calling for 500 plates); De Ricci 71; Graesse II, 116. (4)
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