Geraniologia, seu Erodii, Pelargonii, Geranii, Monsonæ et Grieli Historia Iconibus Illustrata.
Paris : P-F. Didot for L.N. Prevost and T. Barrois, Paris; P. Elmsly, London; R. Graeffer, Vienna; and A. Koenig, Strassburg 1787-1788 [c.1792]. First Edition, Large Paper
Large folio, (585x435mm), title-page, 44 numbered engraved plates, (31 of them by P.J. Redoute) and 6 by James Sowerby) cont. half calf, marbled boards, rebacked to style, title-page lightly soiled and some minor foxing on a few plates, but generally a very good copy, on the front pastedown the engraved bookplate of “Earl of Dartmouth” and the red morocco Ex Libris of Arpad Plesch.
When this copy was sold by Sothebys at the sale of the Arpad Plesch Collection in 1975 it was described as Large Paper, and it certainly has very ample margins. Dunthorne measures a copy at 20.125x13 ins (i.e. 510x330mm) ; a copy sold at Sothebys in 2000 measured 525x340mm, and one at Christies in 2009 497 x 335mm. Brunet mentions a “recueil de ces quatre ouvrages de L’Heritier en Grand Papier” but we find no large paper copies at auction apart from the present one.
L’Heritier, a wealthy amateur botanist encouraged the early careers of two important botanical artists of the period, namely James Sowerby and Pierre-Joseph Redoute. Unusually however, he requested that the plates be left uncoloured, explaining that “if his engravings were coloured, much of the sharpness and precision would be lost. The plates by Sowerby and Redoute are particularly fine, and provide us with an example of the early work of these two botanical illustrators, when they were still under the influence of the great French tradition established by Robert" (An Oak Spring Flora). Text was never issued, forestalled by the French Revolution.
Reference: [Nissan 1188] Dunthorne 247 Brunet 5me Ed. v3. col. 1044
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