The Exceedingly Rare First Book on Zoology with Color-Printed Plates

    [Color Printing]. B[laise] E[tienne] Manuel. Nouveau Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle... Dessinées par M. Desève, et autres habiles Artistes... Tome Premier. Paris: Chez F. Dufart, 1806. First edition of the first volume of this ambitious work (the only volume published), and the first zoology book printed with color-printed plates. Octavo. [ii], 30, 60 pages. With 101 color-printed plates of animals, most plates with two subjects, plain tissue guards. Complete. Near contemporary full red straight-grain paper over boards, two green gilt morocco lettering labels on spine. Joints split (yet still quite solid), binding worn and soiled, labels chipped and creased, many gutters cracked, some occasional thumbsoiling or foxing throughout. Still, a very good copy of this very rare book; as best as we can tell, this is its first appearance at auction.
    Joseph-Marie Quérard, author of the massive bibliography of French literary works, La France Littéraire, doubts the existence of this book (it is not listed on page 497 of volume V of the section on Blaise Manuel) only stating that M. Debray had merely mentioned it: "... ne paraìt avoir été que projeté, car on n'en trouve mention nulle autre part que dans le vol. de M. Debray."
    It isn't hard to guess why only one volume of this was published - there are only twenty four subscribers listed on the "Liste de MM. les Souscripteurs" on page [ii] (including many dignitaries in France and Spain), and the book cost sixty Francs - an enormous sum for the day. Although it was an ambitious project, it was doomed to failure.
    Quérard, V, p. 497.

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    Auction Dates
    November, 2015
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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