The North American Sylva, or a description of the forest trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia, Considered particularly with respect to
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Offer updated on 12/8/2021
First edition, mixed issue. Three volumes. Paris: C. d Hautel, 1819 (& 1817)-1818-1819. Octavo in 4s (9 7/16" x 6 3/16", 240mm x 157). With half-titles to each volume; fourth, sixth and seventh "half-volume" titles; and 156 colored stipple engravings à la poupée with additional hand-coloring after Pierre-Joseph and Henri-Joseph Redouté, Adèle Riché and Pancrace Bessa. Bound in green morocco with a single gilt fillet border and gilt leaf corner-ornaments. On the spine, 5 raised bands with dashed gilt rolls. In the panels, gilt leaf ornaments within a single gilt fillet border. Title gilt to the second panel, author and number gilt to the fourth panel, with the imprint to the spine. Gilt floral inside dentelle. All edges of the text-block gilt. Spines sunned, and with rubbing and some scuffing to the peripheries. Water-stained throughout, with significant tanning and offsetting to the plates. Splits to pll. 51, 53, 54 and 100 (vol. 2), and marginal loss to the upper fore-corners of pll. 101-104 (vol. 3). Ink library-stamp of the Mercantile Library and a small pasted paper label to the title-page of each volume. François André Michaux (1770-1855) accompanied his father André, botaniste royale to Louis XVI, to America in 1785. Together they explored the eastern part of the continent from Florida to Hudson's Bay, going as far west as the Mississippi. François returned to France in 1790 to study medicine, and despite his royal association made it through the Revolution. Eventually he was sent by the State to America once again, with a view to finding species suitable for introduction to the European climate. Following this tour he commenced his magnum opus, published 1810-1813 and translated as the present work. It far surpassed the previous treatments of American trees, and employed the luminaries of botanical illustration (the Redouté brothers, Bessa and Riché) for the production of the plates. Stipple engraved à la poupée, the plates were inked with several colors applied with small cotton pads (shaped like a doll or poupée) for each impression. The process is intensively laborious and proved too expensive to continue for long into the XIXc. They surpass in quality those of the 1850's and 1860's American reissues. Stafleu-Cowan (ad loc.) sketches out three issues of the Paris edition, although admitting at the end of their entry that their "information is still in complete [sic]." Our set is the first issue with the exception of the first part of vol. 1. Dated 1819 on the title-page, it should be from the "Paris reissue in three volumes" (based on its preliminaries), but it also has a point of the "Paris reissue in two volumes:" the "112 - 136" page. This is complicated by the publication of the two-volume issue in quarto rather than octavo in 4s. The second part of vol. 1 is from the 1817 first issue (beginning on p. 137 and ending at p. 268 plus the translation acknowledgment (Stafleu-Cowan's "[269]"). Volume 2 is first issue (indicated by the...
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