ROUSSEAU, Jean Jacques (1712-1778). Botanique ... ornie de soixante-cinq planches, imprimis en couleurs d'aprèes peintures de P.J.Redouté Paris: L.E. Herhan for Delachaussie et Garnery, 1805.
2o (507 x 330 mm). Half-title. Title with stipple-engraved vignette, 65 stipple-engraved plates, printed in colors and finished by hand, by Bouquet, Jacques Chailly, Mlle. Delelo and others, after Redouté, printed by Langlois (some light mostly marginal staining, plate 40 slightly shorter and tipped in). (Half-title and title spotted.) Contemporary straight-grained morocco gilt (some wear, upper cover detached, both hinges with tape repair).
FIRST ILLUSTRATED EDITION. Rousseau's Lettres élémentaires sur la Botanique was published posthumously in his Oeuvres in 1782. His interest in the subject had first been aroused, in 1763 or 1764, by his enforced exile amongst the natural beauties of Switzerland. Following the current fashion, he made various collections of plant specimens or herbaria, two of which are known to have been given to Madame Étienne Delessert and her daughter Marguérite-Madeleine, for whom the letters on botany were written. This illustrated edition of the text has always been prized for its plates after Redouté. One great admirer was Ruskin who, in 1878, wrote to his bookseller, F.S. Ellis: "Please at once set your Paris agents to look out for all copies that come up, at any sale, of Rousseau's Botanique with coloured plates, 1805 -- and buy all they can get." Dunthorne 252; Great Flower Books (1990) p. 134; Nissen BBI 1688; Pritzel 7824; Stafleu & Cowan 9688. See Lawrence Redouteana 15.