Antoine M. Chazal (1793-1854)
Flore Pittoresque dédiée aux dames, par A. Chazal, elève de Mr. Van Spaendonck. [Paris, Rouen, etc.: by subscription from the author and others, 1818-1825]. 2° (349 x 260mm). Collation: 1-42 (pp.-16). Stipple-engraved title, with lettering printed in gold and surrounding frame of two cherubim suppporting a chain of flowers and a third cherub below holding a basket of flowers on his head, printed in colours and finished by hand, 50 stipple-engraved plates printed in colour and finished by hand. (Light spotting to text leaves, neat repair to verso of plate 49.) Contemporary green half morocco, covers ruled in gilt, brown embossed cloth on covers, flat spine decoratively tooled and lettered in gilt (spine slightly faded). Provenance: Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen (ink stamp on title and verso of last plate).
ONE OF THE GREATEST, AND RAREST FRENCH FLOWER-BOOKS, FROM THE BEST PERIOD IN FRENCH BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION, WITH "SUPERB QUALITY" PLATES (Dunthorne). One of the great rarities of French Botanical literature, the plates are as beautiful as any of Redouté's work of the period. Only one fragmentary copy is listed as having sold at auction (these rooms 11 November 1998 lot 28) since the inception of Book Auction Records in 1902. We have traced only one copy in the U.S. (no copies are listed in the N.U.C.), and neither the BM (NH) library, the Lindley library, or the BL or the BN in Paris have a copy. The text to the work takes the form of a short treatise on flower-painting in watercolour with descriptive notes of the colours to be used for the flowers in each plate. The images show "minute and careful work of small subjects on large plates" (Dunthorne). Chazal, a painter and engraver of flowers and fruit, was born in Paris in 1793. He studied as a pupil of Misbach, J. Bidauld and Gérard van Spaendonck, and first exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822. He was later appointed professeur d'iconographie des animaux at the jardin des plantes in Paris. In addition to the present work he also designed plates for the accounts of two of the grands voyages: Freycinet's Voyage.. de l'Uranie (1817-1820) and Duperray's Voyage autour du monde (1822-1825). "Chazal.. was a versatile artist, for besides his botanical work he also painted historical and religious subjects and decorated porcelain and enamel. He.. collaborated with J.G.Prêtre and other artists on a splendid unpublished volume of paintings of crocuses, made for the French botanist Jacques Gay and now in the Library at Kew" (Blunt & Stearn p.209).
The present work corresponds with the copy in the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh. The collation of the text is identical, and the only variation with the plates is in the numbering: the present copy includes very lightly engraved numbers to 36 of the 50 plates. Only 13 plates in the Hunt copy are numbered. The standard bibliographies all appear to be based on Dunthorne's entry which refers to a work titled Flore Pittoresque ou Récueil de Fleurs et des fruits peint d'après nature dédiée aux dames (Paris:1825), containing 70 plates, which apparently required only 14pp. of text (see the fragment sold in these rooms in 1998). It may be that the difference in the two titles can be explained by the title given in the bibliographies having been taken from the wrappers to the original parts (see 1998 fragment), rather than the engraved title. The difference in the plate numbering is more problematic: the present copy is clearly complete and it may be that the 70-plate issue is a 'ghost; inadvertantly created by Dunthorne.
The named plates are 'Jacinthes', 'Narcisse et Violette', 'Cinéraire et Crocus', 'Tulipes odorantes et Primevères', 'Pensées', 'Giroflées', 'Jacinthe double', 'Oreille d'Ours cendrée d'Angleterre', 'Narcisse jaune et Cynoglosse', 'Narcisse de Constantinople', 'Iris d'Allemagne', 'Tulipes', 'Couronne impériale', 'Lilas', 'Laurier rose à fleurs doubles', 'Campanule pyramidale et Pois-de-Senteur', 'Oeillet et Belle de jour', 'Rose ponceau', 'Rose-à-cent feuilles', 'Rose unique', 'Rose-Trèmière', 'Althea et Aconit-panaché', 'Reine-Marguerite', 'Grenade', 'Coboea', 'Chrysanthémum', 'Héliotrope et Houstonia écarlate', 'Oeillet-d'Inde et Géranium', 'Pied d'Alouette vivace, 'Jasmin-d'Espagne & Fuchsia', 'Dhalia', 'Grenadille', 'Rose du Japon', 'Ipoméa et Genêt-d'Espagne', 'Lavatère', 'Oranger', 'Groseilles', 'Cerises', 'Prunes', 'Abricot-pêche', 'Pêche', 'Raisin noir et Chasselas', 'Poires de Doyenné', 'Raisin muscat', 'Reinette-de-Canada', and finishing with five plates after elaborate formal botanical still-lives by Jan van Huysum (2) and Gerard van Spaëndonck (3). Plate 1 illustrates a 'tableau des trois couleurs primitive', with a colour wheel, artist's palette, and three brushes. Dunthorne 79; Great Flower Books (1990) p.87; Nissen BBI 350 (all describing the ?apocryphal edition containing seventy plates).