LABORDE, Alexandre Louis Joseph, comte de (1774-1842). Voyage pittoresque et historique de l'Espagne. Paris: Pierre Didot l'ainé 'avec des caractères de Bodoni', 1806-1820.
2 volumes in 4, broadsheets (588 x 440mm). Engraved title-vignettes, half-titles, engraved additional title to volume I by Du Parc after Charles Percier, and engraved portrait frontispiece by J.B. Fosseyeux after Steven. 345 engraved plates, maps and plans on 272 sheets by Daudet, Decquevauvillers, G. Malbeste, Vicq et al. after Vivant Denon, Laborde, Liger, Jacques Moulinier et al., and 2 double-page engraved maps, paper guards. (Variable, sometimes severe, spotting, foxing and browning, light marginal dampstaining on some quires). Contemporary straight-grained red morocco gilt [by Christian Samuel Kalthoeber, London vide infra; endpapers watermarked 1820], boards with gilt borders, turn-ins gilt with greek-key rolls, flat spines gilt in compartments, lettered in 2, over-gilt marbled edges (marked, rubbed and scuffed with losses, boards of 2 volumes detached). Provenance: [a member of the Gostling family] -- Henry Sotheran and Co., London (bookseller's stamps on front free endpapers; this sold as part of a larger group by Sotheran's prior to 1897) -- [sale, Christie's London, 3 November 1993, lot 122].
FIRST EDITION. 'THE VOYAGE ESTABLISHED THE LITERARY REPUTATION OF ITS AUTHOR ... It was the most magnificent, extensive, and accurate work published on Spain to that date' (Millard). The author's father, Jean-Joseph, marquis de Laborde (1724-1794) had strong commercial and political ties with Spain, and Alexandre in turn enjoyed close links with the country, serving with Lucien Bonaparte's embassy to Spain between 1800 and 1801. Attracted not only by the rich history and confluence of cultures in Spain, but also by the wealth of relatively unknown antiquities, Laborde toured Spain with an entourage of skilled draughtsmen, methodically surveying the European and Arabic antiquities and monuments. 'The results are a monumental, comprehensive, encyclopaedic report, in which are recorded many monuments that have now disappeared ... the high quality engravings cover a range of subjects, from fragments of ancient floor tiles to street scenes, cathedral interiors, and views of nature and natural phenomena. The detailed records ... are of much archeological value' (Millard). This set is the issue on laid paper, and is one of a group of four works uniformly bound by Kalthoeber for the Gostling family (cf. sale, Christie's London, 1 November 1993, lots 122-123 and 125-126). Berlin Kat. 2769; Brunet III, 713; Millard French 83; Palau 128975. (4)