PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF ANITA PEEK GILGER, M.D.
VALLET, Pierre (circa 1575-1657). Le Jardin du Roy tres Chrestien Henry IV. Text by Jean Robin. Paris: P. Vallet, 1623.
2o (337 x 230 mm). Engraved title, engraved portrait of Vallet (lacks portrait of Robin) and 90 engraved plates (upper right blank corner of most plates with discreet old repair). 19th-century vellum with gilt lettered red morocco spine label. Provenance: purchased from Rousseau Girard, 1962.
Second edition, with 17 additional engraved plates. According to Blunt this is the first importnat florilegium and "a work of great beauty." At the beginning of the 17th century Marie de' Medici's great passion for flowers and plants set the fashion for floral themes at the French court. Le Jardin du Roi is Pierre Vallet's hommage to the queen, executed in part to provide patterns for embroideries, and in part to document some of the exotic species bought back from Spain and the islands off the coast of Guinea by Jean Robin the younger.
Vallet, born in Orlaéns about 1575, moved to Paris where he worked as an engraver. He was appointed to the court of Henri IV as brodeur ordinaire de Sa Majesté and, later, vallet de chambre du roy. As engraver he produced illustrations for Touffe de Fleurs (1601), Aventures amoureuses de Théagéne et Chariclée (1613) and La Symbole de Nices (1642). In Paris he met Jean Robin, who directed the Royal Gardens of the Louvre for Henri III, Henri IV and Louis XIII. Tournefort refers to Robin as the most celebrated botanist of his time and Linnaeus named the locust tree (Robinia) after him.
Vallet and Robin collaborated on several works, such as Catalogus Stirpium...quae Lutetiae coluntur (1601) and Histoire des Plantes aromatiques (1619), but their masterpiece is certainly Le Jardin du Roy. The plates are all etched but most also include engraved highlights. Their naturalism, which set new standards for natural history illustration, together with the novel form of the title ensured that the work met with considerable success, so much so that it was widely copied and adapted: some of Vallet's plates were directly copied by Johann Theodor de Bry in Florilegium Novum (1611), by Emanuel Sweert in 1612 and by Friderico Barbette in Florilegium Novum (1641). Dunthorne, p.253; Hunt 187; Nissen BBI 2039; Oak Spring Flora 8.