FLACOURT, Etienne de (1607-1660). Histoire de la Grande Isle Madagascar. Paris: Pierre Bien-Fait and Troyes: Nicolas Oudot, 1661.
2 parts in one volume, 4° (230 x 165mm). Titles with woodcut ornament, 14 engraved folding or double-page plates including 6 maps or plans, woodcut initials, head- and tailpieces. (Minor tear and creased edges to one folding map, one map with neat tear along lower platemark, minor loss at lower corners of A/A2.) Contemporary calf gilt, the covers stamped with the arms of the Comtesse de Verrue [Olivier 799] (spine and corners restored, original spine laid down). Provenance: Jeanne Baptiste d'Albert de Luynes, Comtesse de Verrue (binding) -- Blondeau (Bourgogne) (armorial bookplate).
A fine copy of this early pioneering work on Madagascar, with an interesting provenance. Sent to Madagascar as Governor by the French East India Company in 1648, Flacourt attempted to forge an economic alliance with the southern population. His description of the island, its history, culture, flora and fauna, first appeared in 1658, comprising one of the first works to be published on Madagascar in French. This, the second augmented edition, was owned by the Comtesse de Verrue (1670-1736), a dominant figure in the Savoy court, where she settled with the Duke of Savoy after the death of her husband. Her lively spirit did not sit well with the sombre Duke and in 1700 she fled to Turin and then Paris, where she opened the 'hôtel de la rue du Cherche-Midi', drawing men of letters and philosophers. A passionate collector of the arts, the Comtesse's library comprised 18,000 volumes. Grandidier 1776