REDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840) and Claude Antoine THORY (1759-1827). Les Roses. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1817-1824.
3 volumes, 2° (350 x 260 mm). Engraved portrait of Redouté by C.S. Pradier after Gerard, floral wreath and 169 stipple-engraved plates printed in colours and finished by hand, by Langlois, Chapuy and others after Redouté, printed by Rémond. (Occasional spotting throughout.) Contemporary morocco gilt, gilt spines with repeat pattern of volutes, foliate and dotted tools, marbled endpapers, gilt edges (spines slightly faded with a little wear to head and tail, extremities slightly rubbed).
FIRST EDITION OF 'JOSéPHINE'S ROSES'. 'The technical execution of its production was... near perfect. The artistic quality of the plates is high, and there is no reason to mark it any lower than one would Les Liliacées and the Jardin de la Malmaison' (Hunt Redoutéana p.26). Les Roses, with its combination of Redouté's plates and Thory's text, remains not only a great artistic achievement, but also a valuable scientific record. Lawalrée describes the text as being 'of outstanding importance to both botanists and horticulturalists'. Its author, Thory, was an ardent botanist with his own collection of roses, who came to live at an estate neighbouring Redouté's soon after 1814. Their celebration of roses describes many forerunners of today's flowers, and includes details of a number of species and cultivars that have since disappeared. The roses used as specimens for the work were taken from the collections of Thory, the Malmaison gardens, and from other collections around Paris. Many of the flowers were novelties in Redouté's day, and a number were dedicated to his friends and acquaintances, such as L'Héritier de Brutelle and Ventenat. This is the normal folio size; 15 copies only appear in a larger folio format. Nissen BBI 1599; Stafleu and Cowan 8748; Hunt Redouteana 19; Great Flower Books (1990) p.128; Dunthorne 232. (3)