L'HÉRITIER de Brutelle, Charles Louis (1746-1800). Stirpes novae, aut minus cognitae, quas descriptionibus et iconibus illustravit. Paris: Philippe-Dionysius Pierres, 1784-1785[-1791].
6 parts in one volume, broadsheet folio (512 x 360 mm). Letterpress general title and part titles to "Fasciculus I[-6]." (Lacking preliminary leaf numbered [iii-]iv, some offsetting of images to text, with occasional color bleeding.) 91 engraved plates, 89 finely hand-colored over a color-printed base, 2 uncolored but folding, by Jacquaes Juillet, Charles Milsan, François Hubert, Malewre and others after Pierre-Joseph Redouté (54), L. Fossier, L. Freret, James Sowerby and others, plates numbered 1 to 84 with 7 bis plates. (Repaired tear along platemark of plate XXIV, plate 80 with small repaired marginal tear, some cockling and dampstaining, heaviest in the center of the volume.) Nineteenth-century red half morocco, marbled boards (front cover detached, some water damage). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Albert C. Burrage Fund (bookplate dated 1935).
FIRST EDITION OF L'HÉRITIER'S FIRST BOTANICAL PUBLICATION WITH ENGRAVINGS. The very rare deluxe hand-colored issue with plates produced under Redouté's supervision and colored in his studio. The number of colored copies issued is not known. Stafleu and Cowan note that "Some copies have coloured plates," and only the de Belder and Longleat copies are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty five years. Hunt considered the book to be one of the 18th century's "more delightful flower books... splendid in its spacious descriptions, its charming exotic plates, its implications for taxonomic history." The 6 fascicles were issued with pagination but leaves unsigned. Of the 91 plates, showing such extraordinary fidelity to detail, 54 were contributed by Redouté, 25 by L. Fréret, 4 by L. Fossier, while the remainder are after Prévost, P. Jossignoy, Claude Aubriet, J.C. Bruguihre, and James Sowerby. Although he never completed the work for which at least 120 plates were projected, L'Héritier's main purpose was "to describe, in most cases portray, and classify (according to the Linnean system) plants that were either new or had gone largely unnoticed." A jurist and amateur botanist, he allowed Redouti access to his magnificent botanical library, and it is from L'Héritier, as Johnston says, that Redouté 'learned the finer points of scientific botanic illustration. Brunet III, 1043; Dunthorne 246; Great Flower Books (1990) p.64; Hunt 673; Cleveland Botanical Collections 555; Nissen BBI 1190; Pritzel 5268; Redouté 1; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 4484.