GEORGES LOUIS MARIE LECLERC, COMTE DE BUFFON (1707-1788).
Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du roi... nouvelle édition. 21 volumes: Amsterdam: J.H.Schneider, 1766-1779; 17 volumes: Dordrecht: A. Blussé et fils, 1795-1799. 38 volumes, 4° (298 x 242mm). Engraved portrait by J.Houbraken after Drouais, 1149 plates, maps (comprising: 1137 plates, 8 folding, 12 maps, 10 folding), 31 title vignettes and 38 head-pieces, by C.F.Fritzch, B.de Bakker, C.Buys, J.van Schley and others, ALL FINELY HAND-COLOURED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND. (Occasional very light spotting or staining.) Contemporary half calf, spines gilt in five compartments with raised bands, morocco lettering-piece in the second, numbered and occasionally lettered in the third, upper and outer edges uncut (extremities bumped, small neat repairs to head or foot of spines of 21 volumes).
A FINE TALL SET IN ITS RAREST AND MOST COSTLY STATE, with the meticulous hand-colouring another dimension to the fine plates. The periodic avis to the subscribers mentions copies on grand papier, but there is no mention of hand-colouring. Landwehr, in his notes on the first edition in Dutch, quotes contemporary sources which mention four issues: normal paper, large paper, copies with coloured plates and (most expensive of all) copies with plates and vignettes hand-coloured.
The set was published (and bound) in five different sections: 15 vols. Histoire naturelle (Schneider, 1766-1771); 7 vols. Supplement (vols.I-VI: Schneider, 1774-1779; vol.VII: Blussé, 1799); 9 volumes Oiseaux (Blussé, 1796-1795-1799); 5 volumes Mineraux (Blussé, 1798-1799) and 2 volumes Ovipares et serpens. The correct number of plates is problematic: Nissen calls for 1130 plates and maps, we sold a coloured set in Amsterdam (17 June 1982 lot 108) which included 1144 plates and maps, and another set in London (30 April 1997 lot 12) with 1156 plates and maps and 1 folding table. Nissen ZBI 678; the lot, because of variant plate counts, is sold not subject to return. (38)