DENON, Baron Dominique Vivant (1747-1825). Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte, pendant les campagnes du général Bonaparte. Paris: P. Didot l'ainé, 1802.
2 volumes, broadsheet 2° (677 x 517mm). Half-title in volume I. 178 engraved plates and maps on 142 sheets, by Louis-Pierre Baltard, Jacques Joseph Coigny, Denon, J. Duplessi Bertaux, Galien, Jean Baptiste Réville and others after Denon and Michel Rigo, 8 sheets double-page. (Scattered spotting, occasional light browning and marginal marking, light offsetting on double-page plates.) Early 19th-century half crushed green morocco gilt over calico colour-printed with a floral design by J. Mackenzie, the spines gilt in compartments, lettered in two, the others decorated with floral tools within frames of broad and narrow rules, calico endpapers colour-printed with a floral design, top edges gilt others uncut (endpapers with slight offsetting and creasing, spines lightly faded, lower board edges slightly bumped and paint-marked). Provenance: a few marginal pencil markings in volume I.
A FINE COPY of Denon's voyage, with wide margins, which 'was the first to reveal the richness of Egyptian art to Europe' (Blackmer 471, second edition). Denon was a member of the Commission des Sciences et Arts which accompanied Napoleon's Egyptian campaign, and during his thirteen months in Egypt he worked 'furiously in the midst of dangerous and difficult circumstances' (loc. cit.), recording monuments and other aspects of the country in great detail. Because the publication of the Commission's findings and researches were dogged by delays and uncertainty, Denon decided to publish his journal and drawings independently under the present title. It enjoyed swift and wide popularity; as Brunet notes (describing it as an 'ouvrage intéressant et d'une exécution soignée'), the edition was quickly exhausted. Indeed, 'the instantaneous success of this work may be gauged by the fact that new 4to and 12mo French editions, and an English translation by Francis Blagdon, all appeared before the year was out' (RIBA Catalogue), and by 1808 German, Italian and Dutch translations had been published, and a second English translation by Arthur Aikin. The unusual morocco over colour-printed calico binding is signed 'bound by J. Mackenzie' rather than 'bound by J. Mackenzie bookbinder to the king', suggesting that it was executed after William IV's death in 1837. Brunet II, 599; RIBA Catalogue 841. (2)