One of the richest mushroom manuscripts ever

Liénard, [J.] F.

Catalogue des champignons observée et recuillis dans le dept de la Meuse et figurant dans le collection de Monsieur F. Liénard.

Published 1855-1880
Item ID 76739

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[Verdun], not published, 1855-[1871-1875]-1880. Folio (28.1 x 19.2 cm). 382 leaves of which three with a handwritten index; 23 with a handwritten half-title, and 356 with delicately drawn and coloured mushrooms. Somewhat later half morocco over marbled boards. Spine with four raised bands. Compartments with gilt title. Marbled endpapers.

A stunningly rich, varied, and scientifically important album of fine watercolours, accurately depicting mushrooms and other fungi collected by the French archaeologist, numismatist, entomologist, botanist and mycologist Jean-Félix Liénard (1812-1894), who lived in Verdun, north-eastern France. All illustrations are finely hand-coloured, and nearly all have a caption stating the French vernacular and Latin scientific name; the collecting locality and substrate (if any), and several other facts, e.g., on synonymies, edibility, etc. Collecting dates - to the day - are often included. The species are arranged taxonomically. Several specimens are shown in cross-section, revealing the taxonomically important inner structure. Most specimens shown are identified by Liénard, often with references to ' Flore Franc.' (i.e., the third - 1815 - edition of Lamarck and De Candolle's Flore Française, ou descriptions succinctes de toutes les plantes qui croissent naturallement en France). Liénard became inspector of public instruction for the Meuse Département, near the Belgian and Luxembourg borders. From 1853 to 1894, he was curator of the Verdun Museum and became broadly interested in history and natural history. He significantly enriched the museum's archaeological collections, setting up a network of correspondents, who donated antique objects from various sources. His duties as curator led him to follow activities at various archaeological digs in the region: in 1870, he enriched the museum's collection with a vase from the Merovingian burial site at Muzeray. He was a member of several learned societies, including the Société Philomathique de Verdun, of which he was secretary and president. He produced a significant number of scholarly works, including publications on insects: Catalogue des lépidoptères observés et recueillis aux environs de Verdun; topography: Le Dictionnaire topographique du département de la Meuse, comprenant les noms de lieu anciens et modernes; and archaeology: Archéologie de la Meuse. Description des voies anciennes et des monuments aux époques celtique et gallo-romaine. A few specimens were collected by Liénard's correspondent, the maths teacher and fellow mycologist, Trémeau. Collecting localities include Bois de Baleycourt, Bois Saint-Michel, Gare de Verdun, Cimetière de Verdun, Chantier Lagrue, etc. Provenance: from the author and artist, then of a family member, M. Liénard Bardot. Later in the grand gastronomical library of Jacques and Hélène Bon, collected over a very long period, and sold some time after Jacques Bon's death on 15 January 2015, at the age of 91. Their small mycological-culinary bookplate mounted on the front pastedown. Minimal wear to board edges; a few plates very lightly spotted, but generally very clean, near mint, with the colouring bright and the captions well-readable.

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