Dufour: Half-title. Illustration: 36 fine stipple-engraved plates (numbered 1–36) printed in color and finished by hand, after Dufour by Mlle. Perrot.
2 works in one volume, small folio (12 3/8 x 9 in.; 312 x 228 mm). Binding: Contemporary French half maroon morocco over black marbled boards, green vellum corners, flat spine gilt paneled with the two titles lettered at head and foot, purple marbled endpapers, blue marbled edges, blue silk ribbon-marker.
Some browning and staining, more pervasive to Dufour, caption of Chazal plate 1 just shaved, number of Dufour plate 7 shaved. Extremities of binding lightly rubbed, hinges neatly restored.
Dufour: Dunthorne 98; Great Flower Books, p. 91; Nissen 540; Plesch sale 223
Chazal exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1822, and was later appointed Professor d'Iconographie des Animaux at the Jardin des Plantes, Paris. He contributed to the illustration of the published accounts of two of the great French voyages of the period, the circumnavigations of Louis de Freycinet and Louis Isidore Duperray. The versatile Chazal also painted historical and religious subjects, as well as decorating porcelain and enamel.
The bibliography of Chazal's Flore pittoresque is unsettled, largely due to its rarity: only two copies complete with plates and text seem to be known: one at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University and the former Hofbibliothek Donaueschingen copy, sold at Christie's London, 22 March 2000, for £133,500 (approx. $210,000). The few botanical reference books that cite the work seem to follow Dunthorne in giving the title as Flore pittoresque ou récueil de fleurs et des fruits peints d’après nature dédiée aux dames and calling for seventy plates. The discrepancy in the title likely comes from using a wrapper title to the original parts rather than the engraved title-page that appears in the book itself.
The confusion with the plate count may be due to a second edition planned for 1825 that was to contain twenty additional uncolored plates, probably intended for the purchaser to practice the art of handcoloring. The second volume of La France litteraire ou dictionnaire bibliographique des savants (Paris, 1828) describes such a copy. The notion of the book’s purchasers attempting the coloring of flower engravings is supported by Chazal’s first plate (here bound as the frontispiece of the dual volume), "Tableau des trois couleurs primitive," which displays a color wheel, an artist’s palette, and three brushes.
The 1823 advertisement explains that the Flore pittoresque—produced under the direct supervision of Gerard van Spaendonck—was available in a variety of formats: a deluxe folio with the plate captions printed in gold, a large-paper "grand" quarto, and a regular-paper quarto. Further, the work, issued in eleven parts, could be purchased bound in boards, loose in a portfolio, by the individual part, the tenth part (containing the five "bouquet" plates) only, or by the individual plate. The Allen copy contains the full complement of first edition plates: the engraved title-page and fifty plates (the color wheel, thirty-four of flowers, ten of fruit, and five sumptuous bouquet plates). While no text other than the title is present, it seems highly likely, given that the work is coupled in a contemporary binding with Dufour’s L'art de peindre les fleurs à l'aquarelle, that the volume is as issued. Mlle. Dufour was one of Redouté’s pupils and both the printing technique and style of the plates reflect his influence; Redouté may even have assisted with the work, a considerable rarity in its own right.
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