Extraordinary complete set in fine condition. Panckoucke, Paris, 1820-1829. 2nd edition. 24 parts of text bound in 26 volumes in-4 and 12 volumes of plates in elephant folio, comprising a coloured and a b/w frontispieces, 894 engraved plates and maps, bound in contemporary half calf, consolidated and beautifully preserved. Some foxing in the text volumes, strong on first pages and at the end of the volumes (tables of contents), light or inexistent in the middle. The plates volumes are remarkably clean: the foxing, if any, is usually limited to 1 cm on the margins, without affecting the drawings, except in the Grande Atlas, where foxing affects the drawings of about 10 plates. The whole set is in exceptional condition and free of any markings (a single one can be found on the back of the front cover of the first volume of text). Plates volumes consist of: Antiquités (tomes I to V), Etat Moderne (tomes I and II), Histoire Naturelle (tomes I, II and II bis), Atlas Géographique and Grande Atlas. The text volumes consist of: Antiquités (tomes 1 to 9), Explication des Planches (tome 10), Etat Moderne (tomes 11 to 18, with tome 18 itself in 3 volumes), Histoire Naturelle (tomes 19 to 24). The plates and text of this set have been collated and are complete. After giving up on the planned invasion of the British Isles in 1797, Bonaparte wrote to Bourienne : "If the success of an invasion of England looks doubtful, as I fear it, the Army of England will become the Army of the Orient, and I go to Egypt". The Institut National de France had been founded in 1795 with the aim of "collecting... the discoveries, improve arts and sciences". An expedition to Egypt was proposed by Talleyrand and despite the resistance of the Directoire, the expedition of the Orient was finally constituted on April 12th, 1798. Napoleon left with 280 ships, 54,000 men and the best generals, not only his companions of the Italian campaign: Berthier, Murat, Lannes, Davout, Marmont, Duroc, but also Kléber and Desaix. Bonaparte had a true interest in the sciences: he had been elected a member of the Institut National in the section for physical sciences and mathematics. Monge, Berthollet, Fourier, Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire... altogether 150 scholars joined enthusiastically the Commission des Sciences et Arts de l’Armée d’Orient. In this commission, all branches of science were represented, thus a large scientific and artistic equipment was put on board of the ships in Toulon: laboratory of physics, aerostation equipment, chemistry cabinet, surgical instruments, as well as a printing press. While the military expedition resulted in a disaster, the results of the scientific and artistic work were a resounding success: they gave birth to the Description de l’Égypte. Published over more than 20 years mostly by the scholars and artists who had taken part in the Expédition, the Description de l'Egypte became the largest and most beautiful publication of the 19th century. Compared to the 1st (so-called imperial) edition, this 2nd edition by Panckoucke has the same plates volumes as the first edition, without colouring, have an additional colour frontispiece placed at the beginning of the 1st volume, as well as a frontispiece representing Louis XVIII at the beginning of the Grande Atlas, while the initial 9 volumes of text in folio have become 26 volumes in format small in-4. Language: French. Relevant subjects: Egypt: Travelers & Egyptologists, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, 3rd IP, Greco-Roman, Language, Texts & Writing, Pyramids, Tombs, Temples & Towns.
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