JACQUIN, NIKOLAUS JOSEPH, Baron von. Selectarum Stirpium Americanarum historia, in qua ad Linnaeanum Systema determinatae descriptaeque sistuntur plantae illae, quas in insulis Martinica, Jamaica, Domingo, aliisque, et in vicinae continentis parte, observavit rariores; adjectis inconibus ad autoris archetypa pictis. [vienna: 1780-1781].
Large folio, 455 x 330 mm., contemporary mottled calf, Russian imperial arms blocked in gilt on covers, spine in seven compartments, the second with red morocco lettering-piece, the remainder gilt, edges stained red, head of spine chipped and worn, tail of spine restored, joints and extremities a bit rubbed, a few small chips to covers, stitching loosening slightly, very short tear at guard of folding plate 209, short tear into pl. 262 (just catching a leaf), coloring on plates 263 and 264 slightly chipped at bottom from adhesion to facing pages.
THE DE LUXE ISSUE OF JACQUIN'S GREAT PICTORIAL SURVEY OF WEST INDIAN PLANTS, ONE OF 18 COPIES AT MOST. Collation: ??. A-Mm. (Mm2 + 1), pp. , 137,  (letterpress half-title, watercolor ttile, letterpress dedication, preface, text and index), ORIGINAL PENCIL, WATERCOLOR AND GOUACHE TITLE, HEIGHTENED WITH WHITE, PROBABLY BY FRANZ ANDREAS BAUER, AND 264 ORIGINAL WATERCOLOR PLATES, of which 2 folding, numbered in ink at upper outer corners, uncaptioned.
PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO MARIA FEODOROVNA, FUTURE TSARINA OF RUSSIA. The watercolor drawings are direct copies of the engravings in the 1763 edition. Jacquin was not wholly satisfied with the plates in the original edition and therefore produced this small de luxe issue as a memorial to his Caribbean researches, with 284 original watercolors instead of 184 engravings, and an expanded text. Each copy was issued with a different watercolor title-page, unsigned but thought to be the work of Franz Bauer. Stafleu & Cowan cite copies at the New York Botanical Garden, the British Library, Teyler's Foundation Haarlem, Library of Congress, and the Nationalbibliothek Wien. Two other copies have appeared on the market during the past decade (the Beriah Botfield copy and a duplicate copy deaccessioned by the Nationalbibliothek Wien).
Dunthorne 152; Great Flower Books, p. 61; Nissen BBI 980; Pritzel 4363; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 3249.
Provenance: MARIA FEODOROVNA, WIFE OF PAUL I, TSAREVITCH OF RUSSIA, presentation inscription on half-title, "à Madame la Comtesse du Nord très humblement presenté par l'auteur". The future Tsar Paul I (1754-1801), son of Catherine the Great, toured Europe with his second wife Maria Feodorovna in 1780 and 1781. The royal couple travelled "incognito" under the romantic alias of the "Comte et Comtesse du Nord", an allusion to a bon mot of the Empress's, said to have quipped "à Paul, l'étoile du Nord, à Constantin [her younger son] l'étoile d'Orient" -- her ambitions for Constantine being the rule of Constantinople. Paul's short and capricious reign lasted only from 1796 through 1801, when he was assassinated, to be succeeded by his son Alexander I. See also lot 83 -- Linnaean Society (sale, Sotheby's, London, 2 July, 1979 lot 94) -- Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's New York, 27 April, 1987, lot 179).