18 December 2002
DESCOURTILZ, Michel Étienne (1775-1836). Flore Pittoresque et Médicale des Antilles ou histoire naturelle des Plantes usuelles des colonies Francaises, Anglaises, Espagnoles et Portugaises. Paris: Casimir and others, -1833.
8 volumes, 8o (212 x 127 mm). 600 FINE ENGRAVED PLATES, PRINTED IN COLORS AND FINISHED BY HAND, AFTER THÉODORE DESCOURTILZ, by Louis or George Gabriel, Jacques Pirie, R. Bessin and Prieur. Contemporary French red quarter morocco (worn). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1876; stamps).
Second edition. Michel Étienne Descourtilz trained as a surgeon, after which, following "his marriage to the daughter of Rossignol-Desdunes, who had plantations in Artibonite, he went to Saint-Dominque (Haiti) in 1798" (DSB IV, p.67.) For the present work, Michel Descourtilz initially concentrated on the medicinal properties of the plants (the various plants are apparently arranged according to these properties), and then also included plants with commercial possibilities; but finally the variety of the tropical flora is such that the work, with the 600 plates after his son, has become, overwhelmingly, a celebration of the beauty of the flora of the area. Cleveland Collections 926; Dunthorne 90; Great Flower Books p.55; Nissen BBI 471; Palau 70725; Sabin 19693; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 1391.
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