ORBIGNY, Alcide-Charles-Victor Dessalines d' (1802-1857). Voyage dans l'Amérique Méridional (Le Brésil, La République Orientale de l'Uruguay, La République Argentine, La Patagonie, La République du Chili, La République de Bolivia, La République du Pérou) exécuté pendant les années 1826, 1827, 1828, 1829, 1830, 1831, 1832, et 1833. Paris and Strassburg, 1834-1847.
9 volumes (7 text and 2 plate volumes), 4o (349 x 270 mm), plus slipcase portfolio of maps. Half-titles, folding letterpress tables, 415 engraved or lithographic plates, of which 293 hand-colored and 63 uncolored on india paper mounted, after Orbigny, E. Traviès, E. Lassalle, P. L. Oudart and others, 19 engraved or lithographed maps and geological diagrams on 21 sheets (17 folding, 12 handcolored) after Orbigny by L. Boussard and others (maps 1 and 4 of vol. 3, part 2 repeated as maps 1 and 3 in vol. 3, part 3, maps 5 and 6 in vol. 3, part 2 identical, as usual), lithographed portrait of the author by Coulon after Lasalle, and 10 pp. of engraved musical scores. (Some foxing to text, occasional mostly marginal spotting to plates, light offsetting to a few plates, 2 plates [Oiseaux no. 57 and Costumes no. 1] detached and crudely tipped in with cellotape, the second possibly supplied from another copy, about 8 plates with cellotape marginal repairs, a few small tears at folds of maps.) Contemporary red quarter morocco, spines gilt, t.e.g., plate vols. untrimmed, the maps separately housed in matching two-part pull-off case (rubbed, some wear to extremities, most upper inner hinges cracked, small portion of slipcase missing).
FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EARLY SCIENTIFIC SURVEYS OF SOUTH AMERICA. By training a paleontologist, d'Orbigny left for a research expedition to South America, commissioned by the Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle, in June 1826, "and did not return until March 1834. During these eight years he traveled through the entire continent, making extensive scientific studies under difficult and often dangerous conditions. At the time, much of the continent had been explored only slightly or not at all... Between 1834 and 1847 d'Orbigny published in ten volumes the results of his eight-year expedition to South America, which focus particularly on Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. The material - which extended to zoology, geography, geology, paleontology, ethnography, and anthropology - constituted the most detailed description of a continent ever made" (DSB).
Published in 90 fascicles from 1834 to 1857, d'Orbigny's monumental report of his findings includes contributions from many different scientists. The extensive ornithological section was written by d'Orbigny alone; it includes desciptions of 332 species and is illustrated with 67 hand-colored engravings by Edouard Traviès. "This treatise with its many beautiful plates takes a conspicuous place among the few great works on South American ornithology" (Coues). The remaining plates are devoted to zoological subjects (204 plates of which 177 hand-colored), botany (47 plates of which 36 colored), views (30 plates), costumes and customs (24 plates), antiquities (21 plates) and geology and paleontology (22 plates). The report on botany includes an important section on palms by Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius, illustrated with 32 colored plates.
As d'Orbigny's great project got underway Audubon was in the middle of his. The young John James Audubon had collaborated with the d'Orbigny family, especially Alcide-Charles's father Charles-Marie Dessalines d'Orbigny. Audubon wrote of him, "The doctor was a good fisherman, a good hunter, and fond of all objects of nature. Together we searched the woods, the fields and the banks of the Loire, procuring every bird we could, and I made drawings of every one of them." Indeed, although they did not remain in close contact, Audubon considered d'Orbigny his greatest friend and was always fond of the time they spent observing, tracking and shooting birds. D'Orbigny instructed Audubon on taxidermy and encouraged him to devote close scientific study to his birds. (See Shirley Streshinsky, Audubon: Life and Art in the American Wilderness, 1993.)
Borba de Moraes 631-632; Copenhagen/Anker 382; Coues 2:254; Fine Bird Books, p.72; Hill 517; Nissen BBI 1471; Nissen IVB 698; Nissen ZBI 3021; Palau 202175; Sabin; Wood/McGill p.615. (10)