Item #5000280 Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5). Jacques Julien Houtou de LABILLARDIERE.
Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5).
Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5).
Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5).
Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5).

Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum…
Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, descriptionibus et observationibus illustratae. Parts 1-3 (of 5).

Paris: at the author's expense, and Strasbourg, Amand Koenig; [part 2 also Turin and Frankfurt; part 3 Paris, Huzard, only], 1791/1791/1809.

Three parts bound together, quarto, pp. 22, 18, 16, with 30 engraved plates. ten to each part; uncut, stitched in contemporary plain wrappers.

Early self-published work by Labillardiere; illustrated by Redouté.

Rare and important early work by the notable French naturalist and explorer. Publication of this fundamental work, begun in 1791, would not be completed until two final parts appeared in 1812, the delay a direct result of Labillardière's involvement in the D'Entrecasteaux expedition in search of La Pérouse, and his commitment to writing the narrative of the voyage. Labillardière published three major floras: this botany of Syria, published in five parts over the 21 years between 1791 and 1812, bookended his magnificent Novae Hollandiae plantarum specimen (Paris, two volumes, 1804-06), the highly important first general flora of Australia. He also published a flora of New Caledonia, Sertum austro-caledonicum (Paris, two volumes, 1824-1825). As well as the Australian flora he wrote, and supervised the illustration and publication of, the Rélation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse (two volumes and atlas, Paris, 1800).

Rare and important early work by the notable French naturalist and explorer. Publication of this fundamental work, begun in 1791, would not be completed until two final parts appeared in 1812, the delay a direct result of Labillardière's involvement in the D'Entrecasteaux expedition in search of La Pérouse, and his commitment to writing the narrative of the voyage. Labillardière published three major floras: this botany of Syria, published in five parts over the 21 years between 1791 and 1812, bookended his magnificent Novae Hollandiae plantarum specimen (Paris, two volumes, 1804-06), the highly important first general flora of Australia. He also published a flora of New Caledonia, Sertum austro-caledonicum (Paris, two volumes, 1824-1825). As well as the Australian flora he wrote, and supervised the illustration and publication of, the Rélation du Voyage à la Recherche de La Pérouse (two volumes and atlas, Paris, 1800).

Offered here are the first three of altogether five parts published, meaning that the work is complete to 1809: it contains thirty engraved botanical plates, including all 14 of the plates created by Pierre-Joseph Redouté for the work (six were by his brother Henri, and the remaining ten by others, including Turpin and Poiteau). Two further parts, both of which appeared in 1812, would include twenty further plates, most by Poiteau.

Between publication of the second and third parts here, Labillardière spent five years as the botanist on the D'Entrecasteaux expedition in search of La Pérouse. It was during the voyage's two visits to Tasmania, as well as the time spent in south-western Australia, that he collected the materials for his Australian flora.

Labillardière's Syrian botany is a significant precursor to his major Australian work. As Ed Duyker has noted in his masterly biography, "Unquestionably his travels in the Levant helped refine his skills as a collector and observer of nature". Those skills would be significant in his explorations in Australian waters and in preparing his seminal botany. James Edward Smith in naming the Billardiera (climbing apple-berry) in his Specimen of the Botany of New Holland (1793) explained that he did so "in honour of James Julien la Billardiere, M.D. F.M.L.S. now engaged as botanist on board the French ships sent in search of M. de la Peyrouse. His Icones Plantarum Syriae rariorum, the fruits of a journey into the Levant in 1786, justly entitle him to such a distinction...".

Incidentally, while the title-pages of the second and third parts correspond to those seen in other sets, for example the bound set of the parts at Kew (available on archive.org), the first title-page differs, not least in showing multiple places of publication and a simpler typography and layout.

MacPhail, Redoutéana, 64; Nissen BBI, 1115; Stafleu & Cowan, 4069. Edward Duyker, "Citizen Labillardière: a Naturalist's Life in Revolution and Exploration (1755-1834)", Melbourne 2003.

Condition Report: Uncut edges dusty, a few plates loose; overall very good.

Price (AUD): $3,800.00

US$2,468.32   Other currencies

Ref: #5000280

Condition Report