An Enchanting Medition on the Delights of the Garden, Illustrated by Leading Artists and in a Handsome Binding


(Paris: L. Curmer & V. Lecou, 1851). 280 x 185 mm. (11 x 7 1/4"). [iv], 416 pp. First Illustrated Edition.

EXTREMELY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY CAT'S-PAW CALF, covers with triple gilt fillet borders and floral cornerpieces, raised bands, spine gilt in compartments with floral centerpiece and fleuron cornerpieces, tan morocco label, gilt turn-ins, all edges gilt. With numerous in-text black & white illustrations, seven of which are full-page, and eight botanical color plates, including frontispiece, all with light pink titled tissue guards. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of Edward Nicholas Hurt. Vicaire IV, 639-40. Light scattered patches of foxing (occasionally found on plates, though not affecting the image), but overall a beautiful copy, the binding lustrous and wonderfully well preserved, and the pages especially fresh, very white, and entirely clean.

Penned by a former editor of "Le Figaro" who had a passion for flora, this is an enchanting meditation on the delights of the garden, illustrated here for the first time by some of the leading artists of the period. Writing a series of letters to a friend who had left to travel abroad, the author decides to do some travelling of his own within the confines of his garden. On his botanical sojourn, he lovingly describes the minutiae and changes that occur within this world, which contains more than 200 species of flora and fauna. The narrative often includes the history of the various plants and flowers, while adding the author's own memories and colorful lyricism. The work first appeared in 1845, but in this edition, Karr's garden is brought to life with a great many illustrations, including eight full-page color botanical images. The author of several autobiographical romances, Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-90) moved to Nice in 1855, where he devoted himself entirely to horticulture, and, according to Britannica, "practically founded the trade in cut flowers on the Riviera." Though the book is not uncommon on the market, it would be impossible to find a copy in better condition than the present one.