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REDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840) and Claude Antoine THORY (1759-1827). Les Roses. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1817-1824.
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REDOUTÉ, Pierre-Joseph (1759-1840) and Claude Antoine THORY (1759-1827). Les Roses. Paris: Firmin Didot, 1817-1824.\n\n3 volumes, large 2° (529 x 347mm). LARGE-PAPER ISSUE. Half-titles. Engraved portrait of Redouté by C. S. Pradier after Gerard, FLORAL WREATH AND 169 STIPPLE-ENGRAVED PLATES PRINTED IN COLOURS AND FINISHED BY HAND, by Langlois, Chapuy and others after Redouté, printed by Rémond. (Some very light browning or spotting to some text and about 30 plates.) CONTEMPORARY RED STRAIGHT-GRAINED MOROCCO BOUND FOR THE DUCHESSE DE BERRY, with her arms blocked in gilt in the centre of the covers [Olivier 2554 fer 2] within a rule and roll-tooled border in gilt and blind, the spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in two, the others tooled in gilt and blind, gilt tooled turn-ins, g.e., BY RENÉ SIMIER with his stamp at the foot of the spine of vol. I (slight scuffing to lower edges of covers). A VERY FINE COPY.\n\nProvenance: Marie-Caroline-Ferdinande-Louise de Bourbon-Sicile, duchesse de Berry (binding).\n\nFIRST EDITION, LIMITED LARGE-PAPER ISSUE OF REDOUTÉ'S MOST FAMOUS WORK AND AN OUTSTANDING ASSOCIATION COPY FROM THE LIBRARY OF ONE OF HIS MOST INFLUENTIAL PATRONS. This is one of two works in the sale lavishly bound for the Duchesse de Berry by René Simier. (The other is his prize-winning binding for Gigault de la Salle's Voyage pittoresque en Sicile, lot 64.) There is a slight variation in the binding of the third volume of Les Roses: a different roll-tool has been used on the covers, which are otherwise identical.\n\nThe publishing history of the work is complex. A large-paper copy in the Herbarium of the New York Botanical Gardens contains a leaflet issued after the 23rd part stating "Il en a été tiré cent exemplaires seulement, sur format grand in-folio, le prix, par chaque livraison, est fixé à cinquante" (cited by Stafleu and Cowan), but it is not unreasonable to conjecture that far fewer copies were ever completed. (Similarly, Redouté had planned a large-paper broadsheet edition of Les Liliacées of forty copies, but a note in his hand in the Lindley Library (Royal Horticultural Society) copy states that only eighteen were ever produced.) Les Roses was originally intended to be issued in twenty installments (as announced in the prospectus of 1816), but eventually extended to thirty parts.\n\nBy 1822, Redouté's extravagant lifestyle and the enormous expense of publishing Les Roses had brought him to the brink of financial disaster. The Duchesse de Berry, daughter-in-law of Charles X, was one of several noble patrons, mainly female, who sought to alleviate his pecuniary embarrassment. They were partly responsible for gaining for Redouté one of the two new posts of 'Maître de Dessin' at the Museum of Natural History, created after the death of van Spaendonck, previous professor of painting there. The post required Redouté to give thirty public lectures a year, at a salary of 2,500F. In addition to these lectures, Redouté gave private lessons to aristocratic pupils at the Tuileries, the Royal Palace and at his Paris atelier. The Duchesse de Berry was one of these pupils, and one of the most frequent visitors to his studio to purchase his paintings. In 1824 Bossange, Redouté's publisher, dedicated the Album des Roses to her, and she may have been influential in persuading Charles X to award Redouté the Légion d'honneur in 1825. She was almost certainly responsible for the negotiations between the King and Redouté concerning the purchase of the original vellum paintings of Les Roses. The negotiations took two years to complete, largely because the King thought Redouté's initial price of 50,000F. excessive: the King finally bought them at 30,000F. A group of 170 original drawings for Les Roses, painted on vellum, is recorded in the sale of the Duchesse de Berry's library ('la riche bibliothèque de Rosny') by Bossange père, Paris, 8 March 1837. Although no prices are recorded in the British Library copy of the catalogue, Lawalrée, in his commentary to the facsimile edition of Les Roses (Antwerp: Schutter, 1978) records that they failed to reach their reserve and were withdrawn after only one offer was made, at 15,000F.\n\nLes Roses, with its combination of Redouté's plates and Thory's text, remains not only a great artistic achievement, but also a valuable scientific record. Lawalrée describes the text as being "of outstanding importance to both botanists and horticulturalists". Its author, Thory, was an ardent botanist with his own collection of roses, who came to live at an estate neighbouring Redouté's soon after 1814. Their celebration of roses describes many forerunners of today's flowers, and includes details of a number of species and cultivars that have since disappeared. The roses used as specimens for the work were taken from the collections of Thory, the Malmaison gardens, and from other collections around Paris. Many of the flowers were novelties in Redouté's day, and a number were dedicated to his friends and acquaintances, such as L'Héritier de Brutelle and Ventenat.\n\nStafleu and Cowan 8748; A. Lawalrée Les Roses facsimile edition, with commentary, Antwerp: Schutter, 1978; I. MacPhail, 'Books Illustrated by Redouté' in G.H.M. Lawrence A catalogue of Redoutéana exhibited at the Hunt Botanical Library, Pittsburgh: 1963; Great Flower Books p. 71; Dunthorne 232; Nissen BBI 1599. (3)
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*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.

*Note that the price is not recalculated to the current value, but refers to the actual final price at the time the product was sold.


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