FRANOIS-ANDR MICHAUX (1770-1855)
Histoire des arbres forestiers de l'Amerique Septentrionale, considre principalement sous les rapports de leur usage dans les arts et de leur introduction dans le commerce. Paris: L. Haussmann and d'Hautel, for the author and others, 1810-1812-1813. 24 parts in 3 volumes, 8 (272 x 170mm). Half-titles, section titles, tables of contents of the parts, 138 stipple-engraved plates, printed in colours and finished by hand, by Gabriel, Bessin, Renard, Cally and others after P. Bessa (75), P.J. Redout (32), H.J. Redout (27), A. Rich (3) and A. Redout (1). (Occasional very light browning or offsetting of text onto plates.) 19th-century green half morocco, spines tooled in gilt and blind in five compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second, numbered in the fourth, the others with repeat decoration of panels in gilt and blind. Provenance: Marmoutier (Pensionnat du Sacr-Coeur, bookplate).
FIRST EDITION, A FINE SET BOUND FROM THE PARTS OF THE FIRST ILLUSTRATED SYLVA OF NORTH AMERICA. The sylva represents the results of the travels and researches of both Franois-Andr Michaux and his father Andr, two of the greatest pioneers of the exploration of the natural history of North America. Michaux was born near Versailles in 1770 and first visited America with his father in 1775. A plantation was purchased near Charleston and his father explored the southern Appalachians, Spanish Florida, the Bahamas and the Carolina mountains, Franois-Andr returned to France to study medicine in 1790 and eagerly took up the Revolutionary cause. His father meanwhile had embarked on a further series of botanical expeditions: to Canada (including Hudson's Bay), to the mid-west for 3 years, and to France in 1796. He tried, unsuccessfully, to raise money for further explorations in America, but eventually accepted a post on Baudin's Australian expedition, leaving France in October 1800. This was to be the last time the younger Michaux saw his father, who died in Madagascar in 1802. Franois-Andr visited and explored America twice more: firstly from 1801 to 1803 and finally from 1806 to 1809.
This work is the best known result of these travels, first published in 24 parts or livraisons, issued two at a time in wrappers, between July 1810 and March 1813. Here the parts have been bound in 3 volumes, but the rare original section titles, their half titles and the tables of contents for the livraisons have been retained. An English translation was published in Paris, 1818-19, and it remained the standard work on the subject for most of the 19th century. The fine plates are mostly after the drawings of Pancrace Bessa and the Redout brothers, Pierre-Joseph and Henri-Joseph, and start with sections on Pines (14 plates), Walnuts (10 plates) and Oaks (26 plates). The remaining sections are mixed but include significant groups of Birch, Maple, Ash, Magnolia, Poplar and Lime. Johnston, Cleveland Botanical 747; Meisel III, p.371; Nissen BBI 1360; Oak Spring Sylva 19; Pritzel 6196; Sabin 48693; MacPhail. Andr & Franois-Andr Michaux (The Morton Arboretum, 1981) 12a; Stafleu & Cowan 5961. (3)