JUSSIEU, Antoine Laurent de (1748-1836). Genera Plantarum secundum ordines naturales disposita, juxta methodum in horto regio Parisiensi exaratam. Paris: Herissant, 1789.
8 (213 x 135mm). Interleaved and with loosely-inserted aquatint portrait of the author. Later French green morocco by Cap, triple gilt fillet on covers, spine gilt in compartments, gilt turn-ins, top edge gilt, others uncut. Provenance: THE AUTHOR'S COPY (included in the sale of his reassembled library, Paris, 1858, lot 1025).
FIRST EDITION OF AN EPOCH-MAKING WORK, WITH WIDE MARGINS AND JUSSIEU'S OWN NOTES FOR AN UNPUBLISHED, REVISED EDITION. Born into a family of botanists (following his grandfather, father and uncles), Antoine-Laurent de Jussieu received his doctorate from the Medical Faculty at Paris in 1770 and soon afterwards became deputy to L.G. Le Monnier, professor of botany at the Jardin du Roi. His first botanical work (1773) was a re-examination of the taxonomy of the Ranunculaceae. Prolonged study of the genera and families of flowering plants between 1774 and 1789 led to publication of his botanical masterpiece, the Genera Plantarum, in the year of the French revolution. To aid his work Jussieu profited from access to the royal botanical garden, his own herbarium, his uncle's rich collection, and the collection of Philibert Commerson assembled on Bougainville's voyage round the world. Other collections consulted were those of Banks, assembled on Cook's first voyage; and Linnaeus's herbarium, then owned by James Edward Smith. 'The Genera Plantarum soon found its way to centers of botanical research. With excellent generic descriptions, the book presented a thorough summary of current knowledge of plant taxonomy. The genera were aranged in a natural system based upon the correlation of a great number of characteristics, a system which proved to be so well designed that within a few decades it was accepted by all European botanists,' writes Stafleu (DSB VII, p. 198). The last part of the Genera Plantarum contains 150 species of 'Planta Incertae Sedis': plants which Jussieu was unable to classify at the time of publication. In the present copy, he has relocated most of the 'doubtful' plants by giving the corresponding page number or by placing them under the appropriate botanical section. Almost all of the printed pages, and many of the interleaved pages, bear annotations or corrections in his hand clearly intended for inclusion in a second, revised edition. In common with the Norman copy, the present copy contains an aquatint portrait of Jussieu by Quenedy, bearing the following inscription on verso: 'Cette gravure m'a t donne Paris par le professeur de Jussie le 16 prairial an 3 (ou 4 juin 1795). La ressemblance est parfaite'. Horblit 68b; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 589; Brunet III, 604 ("La bibliothque scientifique rassemble par la famille de Jussieu a t vendu Paris en 1858"); Norman 1194 (with original drawings by Georges Cuvier).