CASSAS, Louis Francois (1756-1817). Voyage Pittoresque de la Syrie, de la Phoenicie, de la, de la Palestine, et de la Basse Egypte. Paris: de l'Imprimerie de la Republique, an VII (1799).
3 volumes bound in one. Folio (21 x 15 inches). 2-page "Avis..." to Subscribers bound in before the first plate. 180 magnificent engraved plates mounted on guards, many folding, including 91 plates for the first volume, 33 in the second, and 56 in the third (some plates with pale marginal water stains, one or two minor repairs). Modern brown morocco backed, marbled paper boards, gilt, three original printed blue paper wrappers bound in, fore and lower edges uncut.
First edition, issued without a title-page, and in this instance without the accompanying text, which was issued with only issued with the first 7 livraisons, as usual. It was originally intended that the work be published with 330 plates, but in the end only 30 livraisons were issued with a total average of 180 plates as here.
Cassas originally accompanied Choiseul-Gouffier, then the French Ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, on his embassy to Constantinople in 1784. He stayed in the Levant until 1787, travelling extensively in the Greek Archipelago which provided the illustrations for Choiseul-Gouffier's second volume "Voyage Pittoresque de la Grece" which was eventually published in 1809. Then in 1785 he was sent by Choiseul-Gouffier to Syria and Egypt to make drawings of the ancient ruins and monuments. On account of the French Revolution, Choiseul-Gouffier was unable to return to France until 1802, but Cassas had no such scruples and happily published those drawings as plates as they appear here. The extraordinary plates in this work include views in Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Cyprus. Atabey considers "around 180" as standard, see Atabey 201 (179 plates); Blackmer 295 (178 plates; wrongly described as 180); RIBA 580 (183 plates); Brunet I, 1616; Monglond IV, 993-1005 (180 plates).