[EGYPT]. Description de l'Égypte, ou recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française. Paris, 1809-.
12 vols. (only). Large 2o. Together 904 engraved plates (55 colored) and maps many double-page or folding. [Includes]: État moderne. Paris, 1809 and 1817. 2 vols. 170 plates (including 65 plates of arts et metiers). -- Antiquités. Paris, 1809-22. 5 vols. 426 engraved plates (28 colored). -- Histoire naturelle. Paris, 1809-17. 2 in 3 vols. 257 engraved plates (including 14 plates of birds in two states, hand-colored and uncolored). -- Carte topographique. Engraved double-page title, engraved 'key' map, engraved characters, a general map on 3 sheets and a detailed map on 47 printed sheets. -- Préface et explications des planches. (Perforated stamp on 8 titles, one half-title and first page of map vol., small ink stamp on verso of title and first leaf of 12 vols.). Contemporary red half- morocco, spines gilt-lettered (some wear to a few spine ends, edges and corners, library marking at foot of spine). Provenance: Lenox Library, 1875 (bookplate and small ink stamp on verso of titles).
FIRST EDITION of the first comprehensive description of ancient and modern Egypt, compiled by 165 members of the Institut de l'Égypt established by Napoleon to accompany his expedition to Egypt (1798-1801). This exhaustive survey of all aspects of ancient and modern life in Egypt was carried out under the supervision of the mathematician Gaspard Monge, the appointed president of the new institute (Napoleon was vice-president). The members of the Institut were mainly civil engineers, surveyors and cartographers, artists and art historians (Denon, H.J. Redouté, Dutertre), an architect and a musician. Rarely has such a huge amount of information been gathered in such a short time and under such difficult circumstances. "The Egyptologists of the 19th century owed their knowledge of ancient Egypt to the efforts of the engineers who described the monuments of antiquity, and it was in the plates of the Description that these were revealed" (Blackmer, p. 104). Brunet II:616; Blackmer/Navari 476; Nissen BBI 2234; Nissen ZBI 4608. (12)