7 volumes, folio (16 6/8 x 10 inches). Half-titles. Engraved title-page to volume one after Percier et Thibaud engraved by Pillement and Née. 496 fine color-printed stipple-engraved plates FINISHED BY HAND (including more than 400 after P. J. Redouté and some 30 after Pancrace Bessa), and 2 engraved plates. Contemporary half calf gilt, marbled boards, all edges uncut (expertly rebacked preserving the original spines).
Provenance: Anonymous ownership inscription: "G[ift] of Mr. John S. Ames, December 1951" on the verso of the title-page of each volume.
Second edition, sometimes called the "Nouveau Duhamel" or, "New Duhamel", ONE OF A SMALL NUMBER PRINTED ON LARGE PAPER, is completely revised and enlarged, and bares very little resemblance to the book published by Duhamel with the same title in two volumes in 1755. The magnificent color plates, the majority of them after Redoute, and many after Bessa are new to this edition. Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840), often called "the Raphael of flowers," was born in the Belgian Ardennes - the son, grandson, great-grandson and brother of artists. From the beginning, Redoute's talents were recognized by distinguished men and women who took pleasure in forwarding his career. For the study of botany, his teacher was Heritier de Brutelle, one of the outstanding naturalists of his day. Gerard van Spaendonck, Flower Painter to the King, taught Redoute the technique of painting in watercolor on vellum. But by the master's own account, the pupil's work was finer. The luminosity of stipple engraving is particularly suited to the reproduction of botanical detail. It is essentially a technique of engraving a copper plate with a dense grid of dots which can be modulated to convey delicate gradations of color. Because the ink lies on the paper in minuscule dots, it does not obscure the "light" of the white paper beneath the color. After this complicated printing process was complete, the prints were then finished by hand in watercolor, so as to conform to the models Redoute provided. Redoute had, as pupils or patrons, five queens and empresses of France, from Marie Antoinette to Josephine's successor, the Empress Marie-Louise. Despite many changes of regime in this turbulent epoch, he worked without interruption, eventually contributing to over fifty books on natural history and archaeology.
Du Hamel (later de-nobilized to Duhamel) du Monceau was born to a farming family in Paris. By 21 he was studying at the Jardin du Roi, which later became the Jardin des Plantes, where he became friends with Bernard de Jussieu (1699 –1777?), who recommended him to the Académie des Sciences. He published a number of scientific works on fruit trees and other plants: "Recherches sur les causes de la multiplication des espèces des fruit", "Anatomie de la Poire" (1730-1731), and "Traité des Arbres Fruitiers" (1768). From 1755, Duhamel began publication of the eight-volume work "Traité complet des Bois et des Fôrets" that would attempt to detail "all aspects of trees including their planting, growth, maintenance, and transportation. The first installation started with two volumes titled "Traité des Arbres et Arbustes" (1755). Other titles that were included in the comprehensive work were "La Physique des Arbres" (1758), "De l’Exploitation des Bois" (1764), and finally "Du Transport" (1767). Between the years 1752 and 1777, he authored various works that appeared both in Diderot’s "Encyclopédie" and the "Dictionnaire des Arts et Metiers". Bret Payne for Oak Spring Garden Library online. Brunet II, 871; Dunthorne, 243; "Great Flower Books", p.55' Nissen 549; Plesch p. 211; Pritzel 2470.