DENON, 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 2o (677 x 510 mm). Half-title in volume I. 176 (of 178, lacking 12 and 57) engraved plates and maps on 140 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 (some mostly pale foxing). (Some occasional light browning or discoloration to text.) Contemporary greenish-brown half morocco, spine gilt-ruled and -lettered, marbled boards, top edges gilt (a bit rubbed).
FIRST EDITION of Denon's voyage, 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, 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. Brunet II: 599; RIBA Catalogue 841. (2)