REDOUT, Pierre-Joseph. Choix des plus belles fleurs prises dans diffrentes familles du rgne vgtal et de quelques branches des plus beaux fruits groupes quelquefois, et souvent animes par des insectes et des papillons. Text by D.-M. Guillemin. Paris: Panckoucke for the author, Panckoucke, Bossange, Treuttel, Dufart, and Arthus-Bertrand, 1827 [-1833].
4o. Letterpress title, Avertissement (1 leaf), and Table alphabtique et explicative (9 leaves), one blank leaf, 144 STIPPLE-ENGRAVED PLATES PRINTED IN COLOR AND FINISHED BY HAND, by Langlois, Bessin, Chapuis, and Victor after Redout, the plates unnumbered, engraved captions in French with Latin binomials. (Old repairs to lower margins of plates 73 [Jasmin d'Espagne], 113 [Pois de senteur] and 141 [Tulipe de Gesner], foxing to plates 63 [Iris frange] and 69 [Ixia tricolor], occasional very minor marginal foxing or paper discoloration to a few other plates, some foxing to title and text leaves.) Later 19th-century red morocco, sides gilt-panelled, spine gilt and gilt-lettered in compartments, turn-ins gilt, EDGES UNTRIMMED (extremities rubbed).
A FULL-SIZED COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE MOST EXQUISITE COLLECTIONS OF FLOWER AND FRUIT PRINTS EVER PUBLISHED. The last of the three great works published by Redout, and the last of his print collections to show him at the height of his powers, the Choix was issued in 36 parts between May 1827 and June 1833, in fascicles of 4 plates each (since the plates are unnumbered, the order of issue is not known). D.-J. Guillemin's text, an alphabetical index correcting the botanical names and including short descriptions of the plants' history and culture, was added in 1833. Along with the regular quarto format, a very restricted large-paper issue of this first edition was printed in folio format.
The plates fall into four categories (as indicated by the letterpress section titles of the undated later issue), consisting of 104 plates of general flowers, 16 plates of roses, 16 of fruits, and 8 of bouquets. In Redout's later years, when he was struggling to escape financial ruin, he moved away from straight forward botanical portraiture to more recherch arrangements of his subjects--with great success, as is evident from this most elegant and accomplished of his later works. The flower plates include 5 of Redout's 6 prints of camellias, irises, peonies, lilies, and examples of many of the most luscious examples of exotics available at the time, as well as "several delightful bouquet arrangements... For its variety and sheer beauty, this must be, for many, the zenith of Redout's achievement" (Dunthorne, p. 32). Dunthorne lovingly described the enticing engravings of fruit as "among the most beautiful of all fruit prints. Plates of greengages, plums, peaches, ladyfinger grapes, figs, raspberries, strawberries, apples, pears and apricots are portrayed so perfectly in the delicacy of the stippled modelling that an impression of a third dimension is created" (p. 54). "The preface to the work is Redout's artistic testament. In it, he looks back at his life, reviews his successes, and the rle of botanical illustration in his world..." (Hunt, Redoutana, p. 30).
UNCUT COPIES OF THIS SPLENDID BOOK ARE RARE. Dunthorne 235; Great Flower Books, p. 72; Hunt Redoutana 20 and p. 29; Nissen BBI 1591; Pritzel 7456; Stafleu-Cowan 8750.