LABORDE, Comte Alexandre Louis Joseph de (1774-1842). Voyage pittoresque en Autriche [volume III: Précis historique de la guerre entre la France et l'Autriche en 1809]. Paris: P. Didot l'ainé [volumes I-II] and J. Didot l'ainé [volume III], 1821-1822.
3 volumes, broadsheet 2° (561 x 401mm). 4 half-titles [volume III with 2]. Hand-coloured engraved title vignettes by Benedikt Piringer [volumes I-II] after Isabey [volume I] and Zix [volume II]. 3 double-page hand-coloured engraved aquatint plates, 126 hand-coloured engraved aquatint plates and engraved plans on 79 sheets, and 18 tinted engraved aquatint plates on 13 sheets, some finished by hand, by Gros, Piringer, Schwartz and others after Gauermann, Haechle, Jaske, Laborde, Lieb, Piringer, Schütz and others, some heightened with gum arabic, 13 double-page engraved or engraved aquatint maps, 8 hand-coloured, one with overslips, 6 engraved maps, 4 hand-coloured, and 5 engraved maps in the text, 3 hand-coloured. 2 double-page lithographic tables. Engraved head- and tailpieces, some hand-coloured, tinted or aquatinted, letterpress tables in the text. (Variable, generally light spotting and browning, minor chalk-marking on 4 pages in volume II.) Contemporary red morocco gilt by J. Wright, the covers with gilt borders formed of rules and acorn and foliate rolls, the board-edges and turn-ins gilt with grape-and-pomegranate rolls, the spines gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-pieces in 2, the others decorated with floral, star and other tools (a few minor scuff marks, lower board-edges paint-marked), gilt edges.
FIRST EDITION. LARGE-PAPER, COLOURED COPY ON PAPIER VéLIN. A finely-bound set of Laborde's Voyage pittoresque en Autriche, which was based on his nine years of distinguished service in the imperial army of Joseph II, years which Laborde was to describe in the introduction as 'le temps le plus heureux de ma vie' (p.iv). The three volumes that form the complete work were published in three states: uncoloured sets printed on papier demi-jésus sold at 360 francs, uncoloured sets with the plates before letters at 540 francs, and hand-coloured sets printed on papier vélin demi-colombier at 900 francs (in addition to these states, Vicaire notes that there was also one copy printed on vellum but without the plates for the author). The numbered of coloured sets produced would have been small, but is difficult to establish exactly: Quérard merely states that coloured sets were 'tiré à quelques exemplaires'; Henry G. Bohn's A Catalogue of Books (London: 1841) offered one as item 1872 noting that 'Only 12 copies are said to have been finished in colours'; and Brunet writes that 40 sets were printed. Whatever the precise number of sets issued, it was certainly small, and coloured three-volume sets remain rare on the market; only one is recorded at auction by ABPC since 1975. Brunet III, cols 713-714 (variant collation); Quérard IV, p.344 (variant collation); Vicaire IV, col.752 (not calling for the double-page 'Plan de la Ville & des Faubourgs de Vienne' in volume II). (3)