Description

    With 156 Beautiful Hand-colored Plates of North American Trees

    François André Michaux. The North American Sylva, or a Description of Forest Trees, of The United States, Canada, and Nova Scotia... Paris: Printed by C. D'Hautel, 1819. An early reissue of the first edition of Michaux. Approximately 9.75 x 6.25 inches. Two quarto volumes. [6], v, [1], 385; [4], 417, [1] pages. With 156 hand-colored plates inserted throughout. Early twentieth-century three-quarter calf over marbled boards. Some scattered internal foxing, minor offsetting to some plates, else very good.

    The primary difference between the first issue and the present set is that the pagination herein is in two volumes instead of the original three, and some of the plate numbers have been corrected. The same beautiful color plates printed in Paris, many after Redouté, are present here as in the first issue. This publication is the most important work relating to American trees prior to the twentieth century. It is the product of the efforts of one of the greatest naturalists to work in 19th century America, François A. Michaux. The beautifully executed plates illustrate leaves and nuts or berries of American trees across the entire continent. Thomas Nuttall later continued the work begun by Michaux, and of the combined work of both men Sabin states: "It is no exaggeration to remark that it is the most complete work of its kind, and is a production of unrivalled interest and beauty." Michaux's work is based on his extensive travels in the eastern half of America, and those of his father, from the 1790s on. Both men were friendly with Jefferson and other leading figures, who aided them in their work and travels. This edition was printed in Paris, where the plates were engraved as well. Both volumes contain the Paris imprint of D'Hautel. The plates were executed by the great French flower painter, Redouté, and his associate, Bessa. The sheets of the first effort at reprinting the work were destroyed by fire, but the copper plates were separately stored and thus survived to be employed in a later combined edition issued by Rice and Hart of Philadelphia. A very nice set of this classic of American natural history.

    Bennett, p. 76. Meisel Iii, pages 379-81. Sabin 48694. Oak Spring Sylva 20 (Ref). Taxonomic Literature 5962. Macphail, André & François-André Michaux 17c. Savage, André And François André Michaux (Charlottesville, 1986).


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2012
    11th-12th Wednesday-Thursday
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