[CHOISEUL-GOUFFIER, Marie Gabriel August Florent, Comte de (1752-1817)]. Voyage Pittoresque de la Grèce. Tome Premier. Paris: 1782.
Large 2° (494 x 327mm). Half-title, engraved frontispiece after J. M. Moreau, engraved head- and tailpieces, 126 engraved single and double-page plates by Berthaut, Choffard, Delignon and others after Choiseul-Gouffier, J. B. Hilaire and Moreau, 2 engraved folding maps and text illustration (without portrait called for in Cohen-de Ricci, inscription excised at upper corner of front endpaper, occasional light marginal browning or staining, occasional spots not affecting images, short marginal tear at fold of first map).
BINDING: contemporary Parisian gold-tooled red morocco by Nicolas-Denis Derome, called Derome le jeune, roll-tooled outer borders and fillets enclosing a very fine wide dentelle border composed of a large variety of small tools including a bird and a basket of flowers, spine in seven compartments, green morocco lettering pieces in the second and third, turn-ins decorated with small tools including birds in flight, blue watered silk liners, gilt edges (some neat restorations at edges, a few minor scratches to covers, small crack across upper joint).
PROVENANCE: Madame Théophile Belin (Paris, sale II, 10-11 June 1935, lot 461) -- Hans Fürstenberg (book plate) -- Comtesse Niel (sale Paris, 30 November 1973, lot 42) -- Martin Breslauer (catalogue 104, 1981, no. 229) -- GianCarlo Venerosi Pesciolini (bookpate).
First edition, first issue of 'Tome premier' of Choiseul-Gouffier's 'sumptuous work' on Greece. 'Le premier volume de cet ouvrage, à l'époque ou il parut pour la première fois, était incontestablement, sous le rapport de la gravure, la plus belle production en ce genre qu'on eut encore vue' (Brunet). Choiseul-Gouffier and the artist J. B. Hilaire had accompanied the Marquis de Chabert on his expedition to produce a new map of the Mediterranean in 1776. Having toured the islands of the Archipelago and and coast of Asia Minor, Choiseul-Gouffier traveled extensively in mainland Greece, issuing volume I of Voyage Pittoresque by 1782, with engravings after Hilaire's drawings. Its success and influence resulted in his appointment as Ambassador at Constantinople, which provided further opportunities for research. The French Revolution interrupted publication and the second volume was only issued from 1809 to 1823.
The binding is one of Derome's masterpieces, the broad dentelle's composition entirely harmonious and the morocco of the highest quality. It compares to and shares many tools with the Derome binding reproduced as pl. 39 in Dacier's collection of 42 of the finest bindings in French national libraries (1929). Only one other copy of Choiseul-Gouffier's splendid plate-book on Greece survives in a Derome binding: King Gustaf III of Sweden's copy in the Royal Library, Stockholm; see Sten G. Lindberg, "Italienska och franska presentban till Gustaf III 1784", in: Biblis (1972) p.61, fig. 31, list 7, no. 54. Brunet I, 1847; cf. Atabey 241; cf. Blackmer 342; cf. Cohen-de Ricci 238.