Exploration scientifique de l'Algérie, pendant les années 1840, 1841, 1842 publiée par ordre du gouvernement et avec le concours d'une commission académique. Sciences physiques. Zoologie. V. Histoire naturelle des reptiles et des poissons.
Item ID 70434
Paris, Arthus Bertrand, 1850. Folio (37.0 x 28.1 cm). Half-title, title page Sciences physiques Zoologie V with engraved vignette, half-title (to the reptiles and fish), iv, 144, [iv] pp., half-title (to the atlas); 12 plates (four of reptiles and amphibians, eight of fish). The plates are colour-printed engravings à la poupée and then finished by hand. Contemporary half morocco over marbled boards. Spine with five raised bands and gilt title. Marbled endpapers. The very rare complete text and atlas of the reptiles, amphibians, and fish of this famous expedition, including several new taxa. Written by the French herpetologist and assistant to Constant Duméril, Antoine Alphonse Théodore Guichenot (1809-1876). The excellent plates were made after drawings by Vaillant and Werner, and coloured with exceptional detail. The printing technique, à la poupée, is a method of printing in colour in which two or more inks of different colours are selectively applied to different parts of a single copperplate. The inked plate is then printed in a single pass through the press. The method takes its name from the poupe (meaning ‘doll’ in French), the small ball-shaped wad of fabric that is used to ink the plate. Usually the plate would be finished by hand afterwards. These plates of the Exploration scientifique can easily be classified among the highest ranks of zoological illustrations. The zoological results of the expedition to Algeria were published over several years, and an atlas like this one has become very difficult to find. An unmarked copy. Inner hinges strengthened, front board corners skilfully repaired. The condition of the plates is exceptionally good, entirely clean. We found only one auction record – in 1956. Adler II, pp. 72-73; Nissen ZBI, 4630; Wood, p. 439. Not in the Crane library.