decorative arts & objects
French Tulip Engravings
Late 18th Century
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Hand-colored engraved plates of tulips by naturalist Pierre-Joseph Buc'hoz.
Rare flower plates, the complete volume of forty being part of Le Jardin d'Eden, which was intended as the supplement to the Collection des Fleurs de la Chine & de l'Europe, first published in 1776.
The second half of the eighteenth century saw a boom in natural history publications in France fueled by such works as Buffon's Histoire Naturelle. The accession of Louis XVI in 1774 was followed by a relaxation in the regulation of the book trade, making it easier for authors to publish their own works. No other writer was to take such copious advantage of these two developments as Pierre-Joseph Buchoz (1731–1807), a French physician, lawyer and naturalist. His works are characterized by the beauty of the illustrations, and their rarity owing to the small size of the print runs.
The final tulip plate is identified as the legendary broken flame-patterned flower "Semper Augustus," of which were recorded as having reached prices of up to 10,000 guilders at the height of Tulipmania in 1637, although even before this time, bulbs of this particular flower had been valued at 5,500 guilders.
Cleveland Collections 541 (GC copy this copy); Dunthorne 66 and 65; Great Flower Books, p.52; Hunt 565; Nissen BBI 280 and 279 (calls mistakenly for 60 and 40 plates); Pritzel 1330
Not examined out of frame.
Wear consistent with age and use.
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