BULLIARD, Jean Baptiste François (1742-1793). [Herbier de la France]. Paris: l'Auteur [and others], [1780-1798].
7 volumes (text: 2 parts in one volume; plates: 6 volumes), 4° (319 x 224mm). Text: 4 engraved plates and tables (one printed in colours, one folding). Plates: 12 engraved plate lists, 602 engraved plates, most colour-printed with engraved descriptive text at the foot. (Lacking engraved title, occasional light spotting, generally unobtrusive). Contemporary French marbled calf, the flat spines onlaid with contemporary red morocco, the covers with simple gilt decorated border, later Botfield arms blocked in the centre, the red morocco spines in six compartments divided by fillets and thin rolls either side of a narrow sémé of lozenges and small circles, one compartment lettered "Histoire des Champignons de la France", the remaining compartments with shaped corner-pieces of small tools and pointillé work, around a central tool of a classical urn of flowers with a bird perched on the rim, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, some free endpapers with watermark date '1804', marbled edges.
A VERY FINE SET OF THIS FIRST EDITION of 'probably the first botanical work completely colour-printed without retouching by hand' (Great Flower Books), 'illustrated with coloured engravings that are both delicate and accurate' (Blunt & Stearn p.71), and here including the very rare plates 601 and 602. Bulliard's monograph was published in 150 parts, each with 4 plates, from June 1780 onwards, making a yearly issue (année) of 48 plates with an engraved table of contents for each year except the 13th; plates 601 and 602 are lacking from most copies and apparently were not published until 1788. It was the author's intention that the Atlas, when complete, should serve to illustrate five books (divisions). Owing to his sudden death in 1793, only two books were issued: Histoire des Plantes vénéneuses et suspectes de la France (Paris, 1784) and Histoire des Champignons de la France (Paris, 1791). Almost 400 of the 602 plates are of mushrooms and fungi. Using a technique that is unusual for botanical illustrations, the plates were printed using a separate copperplate for each colour. Bulliard drew and engraved the plates himself and was responsible for the colour-printing. BM(NH) I, p.285; Dunthorne 70; Great Flower Books (1990) p.81; Nissen BBI 296; Stafleu and Cowan 905 and cf. 907, 908, 910. (7)