VIRGILIUS Maro, Publius (70-19 B.C.). Bucolica, Georgica, et Aeneis. Paris: Pierre Didot l'ainé, 1798.
2° (477 x 330mm). Engraved frontispiece by Copia after A.-L.Girodet and 22 engraved plates, all avant-lettre (14 after F. Gérard, 6 after Girodet, 1 after David and 1 unsigned, all by Baquoy, Beisson, Copia and others). (Lacking 2 leaves pp. 201-202 and 207-208, with 2 duplicate leaves comprising pp. 203-204 and 205-206 bound in their place, limitation leaf stained by original preservative, occasional faint spotting.) Contemporary red straight-grained morocco gilt by Matthias Herrmann, covers with decorative border composed of pearl, greek-key and floral rolls with a thick single fillet, intersecting at the corners to form a square compartment filled with an octagonal rosette, the spine in seven compartments with double-raised bands, green morocco gilt lettering-piece in the second compartment and a similar small label at foot of spine giving imprint, the others with central cypher 'AS' inside a circular sunburst surrounded by a border composed of a double-fillet and pearl roll with stylised foliate cornerpieces, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, edges marbled under gilt, light-blue silk ribbon marker (extremities faintly rubbed). Provenance: PRINCE ALBERT OF SAXE-TESCHEN (cypher on spine and shelf-label of the Bibliotheca Albertinam Viennam) -- unidentified bookseller with stock code 'th 1885076' to rear flyleaf -- unidentified bookseller with stock code 'PNN' to rear flyleaf -- Colin Franklin (sold in 1976 to:) -- Georges de Belder (sold via:) -- Bernard Quaritch (1984 catalogue 'The Neo-classical Book', part IV of the de Belder collection, item 555).
PRINCE ALBERT OF SAXE-TESCHEN'S MAGNIFICENT COPY, ONE OF ONLY 100 WITH PLATES BEFORE LETTERS, AND CONTAINING ONE OF THE RARE ENGRAVINGS SIGNED BY JACQUES-LOUIS DAVID. The edition was limited to 251 copies, of which only 100 had plates printed before letters, the present copy being numbered 90 and signed by Didot. This is 'The first of the great folios printed by Didot at the Louvre' (Ray), and in this copy the engraving illustrating Book 8, placed between pp. 386-387, is signed by David ('David inv.'). 'That Gérard and Girodet made the drawings under David's aegis has been known from a passage in Didot's preface... Only recently did a copy of the book with early impressions (now in the Rosenwald Collection of the Library of Congress) establish that David himself was responsible for some of the designs, his signature à pointe being replaced in the finished engravings by that of Gérard' (Ray French I, p.122). This copy adds more evidence to prove that David, Napoleon's official painter, was not only supervising the work at the Didot's presses, he was actually collaborating in their production. Cohen/de Ricci 1019 (incorrect plate count); Ray French 70.