Lot 51

NAPOLEON'S EGYPT.
Description de l'Egypte. Ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française. Paris: C. L. F. Panckoucke, 1821-1830.

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US$60,000 - US$90,000

NAPOLEON'S EGYPT.
Description de l'Egypte. Ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Egypte pendant l'expédition de l'armée française. Paris: C. L. F. Panckoucke, 1821-1830.
38 volumes, 24 text volumes in 26, 8vo (215 x 130 mm), and 12 atlas volumes in elephant folio (670 x 540 mm). Antiquities (5 volumes): Colored frontis, 3 additional engraved plates ("Medailles trouvees en Syrie," "Tableau synoptique des constellations" Plate A, "Produits de la machine a graver"), 16 numbered engraved plates of the Rosetta Stone (on 8 sheets), 419 numbered engraved plates, pl. 103 of Etat Moderne (misbound). Etat Moderne (2 volumes): 1 additional engraved plate ("Canevas trigonometrique du Kaire/d'Alexandrie"), 169 numbered engraved plates (see pl 103 bound in Antiquities V); Histoire Naturelle (3 volumes): 244 engraved numbered or lettered plates; Atlas Geographique (spine title): 52 engraved maps and plates; Grande Atlas:engraved title, featuring portrait of Louis XVIII, and 63 oversized plates from the above collation, bound in a separate 12th atlas volume. Contemporary morocco backed cloth boards, minor, occasional foxing to margins, a few plates soiled.

THE RARE "PANCKOUCKE" EDITION, COMPLETE WITH ALL PLATES, OF THE MONUMENTAL COLLECTION DETAILING NAPOLEON'S EGYPTIAN EXPEDITION. The first scientific survey of Egypt, and one of the most beautiful of the 19th-century plate books, Description de l'Egypte forms a "sort of living archive for the expedition" (Said, Orientalism, p 144). This landmark collection features the combined work of 150 of Napoleon's "savants," including Monge, Berthollet, Fourier, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire, Redoute, and Savigny.
Napoleon's artistic and scientific troops landed with 54,000 soldiers and 400 ships to invade Egypt in April of 1798, and while the invasion itself failed in spectacular and tragic fashion, the scientific expedition succeeded beyond any expectation and its yield of artefacts, specimens, maps, and drawings formed the basis for the work, which took more than 20 years to produce. This comprehensive document of the expedition turns out to be "Napoleon's Glory," a transformational account of the cultural, scientific, and artistic contributions of Egypt, essentially creating the field of Egyptology.
The first edition appeared beginning in 1809, and this second edition ("Panckoucke Edition") was begun nearly before the first was completed and reproduces the plates of the first in full, without the hand coloring.
The plates are here complete, at times variously bound, but including the hand-colored frontis often missing. Atabey 343 (for 1st edition); Blackmer 476 (for 1st edition); Catalogue of the Egyptological library and other books from the collection of the late Charles Edwin Wilbour, Brooklyn, 1924, p 178-185; Hilmy I, pp 239-245 (for 1st edition); Munier Tables de la Description de l'Égypte.

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