Nicolas Franois Regnault (1746-c.1810) and Genevive de Nangis Regnault (b.1746)
La Botanique mise la port de tout le Monde: ou collection des Plantes d'usage dans la Mdecine, dans les Alimens et dans les Arts. Avec des notices instructives puises dans les auteurs les plus clbres, contenant la description, le climat, la culture, les propreits et les vertus propres chaque plante. Prcde d'une introduction la Botanique ou dictionnaire abrg des principaux termes employs dans cette science. Paris: published by the author and Didot le jeune, -1774-. 3 volumes, large 2 (478 x 352mm). 3 engraved titles, 472 hand-coloured engraved plates by or after the Regnaults (i.e. 3 plates of botanical details numbered I-III, 469 unnumbered plates [but plates in vols.I-II here numbered in ink in a contemporary hand '1'-'295']), 1 engraved leaf 'Introduction la Botanique' printed recto and verso. (Minor smudging to colour of about 4 plates, light browning to about 20 plates.) Contemporary near-uniform French mottled calf gilt (vols.I & II uniform, vol. III bound to match), covers with triple fillet borders, spines in seven compartments with raised bands, vols.I & II with brown morocco lettering-pieces, vol.III with green, the remaining compartments with repeat decoration in gilt made up of various small tools around a central flower motif, g.e. Provenance: marchal Louis-Gabriel Suchet, duc d'Albufera (1770-1826, bookplate from 1813 or later).
A FINE LARGE SET, WITH A DISTINGUISHED PROVENANCE, OF 'PERHAPS THE MOST IMPRESSIVE FRENCH BOTANICAL BOOK OF THE PERIOD' (Blunt & Stearn  p.171). The authors concentrated on plants that were useful, initially limiting the work to plants with medical uses: 'notre objet a t de figurer les plantes dont les hommes recherchent le secours dans les maladies qui les affligent', but eventually including edible plants and others of a wider use to man. The vast majority of the plates were drawn from life and a signficant number are printed in brown. All show the subject plant, with a section of root and details of flowers and fruits, and underneath each image an identification by their common names, in as many European languages as possible. The facing single page of text includes an identification of plant according to the classification systems of Linnaeus, Tournefort and Adanson, a botanical description of the plant followed by its uses, then general comments including historical references (the authors write of the potato [vol.I plate '53']: 'nous ne les choquerons point en disant que la culture de la Pomme de terre est peut tre le seul avantage dont les Europens soient redevables la dcouverte de l'Amerrique').
The present copy is from the library of marchal Suchet: born in 1770 into a middle class family in Lyons he joined the 'garde nationale' of Lyons as a 'cavalier' in 1792, by 1798 he was 'gnral de brigade', in 1801 he was 'inspecteur gnral d'infanterie'. For his service in Spain he was created 'marchal de France' in July 1811 and in January 1813 'duc d'Albufra'. Napoleon remarked that if he had had two commanders of Suchet's calibre in Spain he would have not only conquered the peninsula, but held it. He died in January 1826 at the 'chateau de Saint-Joseph' near Marseilles.
The present copy shows some variation (as usual) in the peripheral text: it does not include the 3pp. 'Table des Noms' concluding with the 'Privilge du Roi' dated 1780, but does include a 1p. table of names of plants included in the 'Supplment' (i.e.vol.III); the 'Avertissement' leaf is here issued as a sort of postscript, after the completion of the body of the main work; it does not include the additional printed leaf headed 'La Botanique... ordre de la Distribution' (noted in the Plesch copy). Blunt & Stearn, p.171; Cleveland 517; Dunthorne 256; Great Flower Books(1990), p.131; Nissen BBI 1600; Pritzel 7475; Stafleu & Cowan 8810. (3)