Lot 274

Egypt - DESCRIPTION OF EGYPT. Description of Egypt or Collection of observations and research that were made in Egypt during the expedition of the French Army. Second edition, dedicated to the king, published by C. L. F. Panckoucke. Paris, Panckoucke, 1820-1829.
11 in-plano volumes of atlases alone (without the 24 volumes of text in 26 vol. in-8), Havana half-basan ep., smooth ornamented spines.
Bindings worn, rubbed. Some freckles in places.
These 11 volumes of atlases contain a total of 848 plates (out of 901), distributed as follows:
- Antiquities, 5 volumes: volume I, 91 plates (out of 97 - missing plates 2, 4, 49, 61, 82, 84); volume II, 85 plates (out of 92 - missing plates 3, 10, 15, 23, 24, 25, 26); volume III, 55 plates (out of 69 - missing plates 2, 3, 4, 17, 18, 23, 26, 27, 32, 41, 43, 49, 51, 63); volume IV, 62 plates (out of 72 - missing plates 3, 6, 7, 10, 16, 19, 20, 29, 53, 54); volume V, 82 plates (out of 89 - missing plates 6, 7, 8, 14, 15, 33, 44) + 16 plates for the Rosetta Stone (2 per sheet) + 2 unnumbered plates.
- Modern condition, 2 volumes: 96 plates in continuous numbering (out of 105 - missing plates 41, 42, 43, 61, 67, 88, 95, 97, 98, tear without missing and without damage to the engraving of plate 31) + 31 plates + 11 plates (A-K) + 13 plates (AA-NN, no plate JJ) + 10 plates (a-k, no plate j).
- Geography, 1 volume: assembly table, alphabet then 47 plates (double-page maps)
- Natural history, 3 volumes: volume I, 62 plates (7+1+14+8+5+27); volume II, 105 plates (1+3+14+5+13+9+1+7+3+20+9+3+1+14+2); volume II bis, general table of plates (flyleaf in smaller format) + 62 plates + 15 plates. He therefore had a second edition printed, also in one thousand copies, in 26 volumes of text in a smaller format (in-8°) than the first and 11 volumes of plates in grand-atlas format, printed from the original brass plates, some of which were retouched for this new edition. This second edition partly financed the first imperial edition, of which more than half of the print run was reserved for the present copies.
The Description of Egypt is the result of the collaboration of the scholars, artists and technicians who followed Bonaparte to Egypt. It is the most monumental work ever devoted to a people. Monge and Denou were the master builders. The quantity and precision of the information provided surpassed all the works that had been published before the expedition (accounts and drawings of travellers, books). The monuments were surveyed and described with remarkable accuracy. Even inscriptions whose mystery had not yet been unravelled were reproduced with great accuracy. The Description of Egypt is still today a major source of documentation: many of the buildings depicted on these plates were later completely destroyed.