8 December 2015
CHAMPOLLION, Jean François (1792-1832). Grammaire Égyptienne, ou Principes Généraux de L'Écriture Sacrée Égyptienne appliquiée a la représentation de la langue parlée... publicée sur le manuscript autographe, par l'ordre de M. Guizot. Paris: Firmin Didot Frères, 1836-.
2° (333 x 212 mm). Dedication leaf. Lithographic hieroglyphs throughout, some printed in red, six pages hand-colored (a few leaves becoming loose). Late 19th century half calf and marbled boards (some rubbing and light wear, minor dampstaining to lower spine end). Provenance: Herbert Jekyll (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. This Grammaire, the culmination of Champollion's almost lifelong work in early languages and deciphering hieroglyphs, was published posthumously and edited by Champollion's brother Jacques-Joseph Champollion. As explained in the Preface, publishing the original meticulous manuscript was a monumental effort, and required that all the different alphabetic languages (French, Latin, Greek, Coptic, etc) were set in the usual way in type, blank spaces being left for the hieroglyphs. The typesetting was then transferred to lithographic plates where the hieroglyphs were engraved and then each page, including type and hieroglyphs, reprinted lithographically. This was the first time such a technique had been used in France. “To be honest, I hope that this will be my calling-card to posterity“ (Champollion). Brunet I:1780; Gay Bibliographie… l’Afrique et a l'Arabie 1729.
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