Marie Dominique Joseph Engramelle (1727-1780)
J.J.ERNST and others. Insectes d'Europe peints d'apres nature par M.Ernst gravé et coloriés sous sa direction; premiere partie, les chenilles crisalides [...seconde partie, les chenilles crisalides et papillons sphinx, leurs descriptions]. Paris: [n.d. but circa 1779-1791]. Volume I only, 2° (410 x 277mm). ENGRAVED AND PRINTED ON VELLUM THROUGHOUT, 2 titles with integral decorative surrounds, 130 plates by J.J.Juillet and others after J.J.Ernst and others, all finely hand-coloured by a contemporary hand (plates numbered I-LXXXIV, I-VIII.IIIe.Suppl., LXXV-CXXII). Contemporary French red morocco by René-Pierre Delorme (signed in gilt on front turn-in), covers with triple fillet and roll-tool border, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, green morocco lettering-pieces in the second and fourth, the others with repeat rococco decoration, gilt turn-ins, blue watered-silk endleaves, gilt edges (scuffed, spine rubbed, joints slightly split), 20th-century slip-case.
A MAGNIFICENT EXAMPLE OF ROCCOCO NATURAL-HISTORY BOOKMAKING AT ITS ZENITH: PART OF A UNIQUE SET OF ONE OF THE FINEST 18TH-CENTURY WORKS ON ENTOMOLOGY, PRINTED ON VELLUM. The present volume contains just over a third of the complete compliment of plates (the complete suite consisted of 350 plates, numbered from I-CCCXLII, with the eight additional plates numbered I-VIII). This substantial fragment appears to be all that remains of a unique set mentioned by Brunet: 'Il ya quelques exemplaires tirés sur pap.[ier] de Holl.[ande] in-fol.[io]: j'en ai méme vu un de ce genre, dont les planches étaient imprimées et peintes sur vélin'. Unfortunately he does not record any more details of this set, but logically it should consist of at least one (and probably two) more volumes of plates printed on vellum, together with the folio-format text volumes printed on paper. The provenence of this work is also interesting: the subscribers' list mentions approximately 250 names, amongst whom are members of several royal families. The unique nature of this production suggests that it was produced either for one of the people closely involved in its production, or for one of the most important (i.e. royal) subscribers. The binding, which is of a high quality but simply decorated, perhaps supports the former of these two alternatives. Cf.BM(NH) II,p.539; cf.Brunet II,1048; cf.Nissen ZBI 1300.