The rediscovery and excavation of ancient Egypt from the late eighteenth century onwards, following Napoleon's invasion in 1798, inspired some of the greatest and most lavish books of the nineteenth century. These works were published on the grandest scale, both in their archaeological and intellectual scope, illustrations and pure size - they were not just folios, but 'elephant' folios, the largest book format, and they ran to many volumes.
The first to be published, after Denon's comparatively modest Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egyptewas the 19 volume Description de l'Egypte, (1809-22) commissioned by Napoleon. This was followed Ippolito Rosellini's 12 volume I Monumenti dell'Egitto e della Nubia (1832-44) and Champollion's 4 volumeMonuments de l'Egypte et de la Nubie (1835-45). All of these works appear in this sale, together with rare works of natural history, maps, atlases, travel books and topographical photographs.