KNIP, Mme (née Pauline de Courcelles) – THEMMINCK, Coenrad Jacob

Les pigeons

Mme Knip, Garnery
Size : 57,5 x 37,5 cm
Color : Original Color
Condition : A
Technique : Copper engraving
Reference : 490-2


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"Superbly painted and reproduced these are among the finest of all bird plates"

Part I only in two large folio volumes (57.5 x 37.5 cm); long-grained red quarter morocco, smooth spines decorated with double gilt fillets, gilt title and volume number (Binding of the period)

I. Title, 13, [1] pp., pp. 23-41, 11 pl. ; 68 pp., 30 plates including pl 25bis. - II. Half-title, pp. 69-128, 30 plates ; 30 pp., 16 pl., iij pp. Table

First edition, second issue (for title and text), of this rare and beautiful work on pigeons, the most beautiful published.

It is illustrated with 174 life-size figures of pigeons (with the exception of five specimens), engraved by César Macret, printed by Millevoy, after drawings by Pauline Knip, born de Courcelles, 87 of which are superbly enhanced by the artist's brush.

EXAMPLE WITH THE DOUBLE FIGURES, ALL BEFORE THE LETTER, THE NAMES OF THE PIGONS INSCRIBED BY HAND BY MADAME KNIP (?). A copy with the plates in black before the letter, with the names inscribed by hand by Madame Knip, appears in the Huzard catalogue of drawings and prints (I, 2890).

The work is divided into three parts: the colombars, with 11 plates, the doves with 60 plates, and the colombis-gallines with 16 plates, that is to say 87 beautiful plates engraved by Macret, printed in colours by Millevoy, and retouched by hand by Madame Knip with explanatory text sheets, each plate being followed or preceded by a plate in black, that is to say 174 plates in total.

Published in 15 issues from 1808 under the direction of the great Dutch naturalist C. J. Temminck, the work, entitled Histoire Naturelle Générale des Pigeons: par C.-J. Themminck, Directeur de l'Académie etc. Avec figures en couleurs, peintes par Mademoiselle Pauline de Courcelles... was to consist of 3 folio volumes illustrated with 250 plates.

In 1811, at the 9th issue, Pauline appropriated the work, replaced the title by Les Pigeons... Le texte par C. J. Themminck, Directeur de l'Academie des Sciences et des Arts de Harlem etc., and deleted 40 pages of text and the Latin index by Temminck. Presented to H.M. the Empress and Queen Marie-Louise, the "new" work allowed Madame Knip to obtain appreciable gratifications, but above all, the title of First Painter of Natural History of H.M. the Empress Reine-Marie-Louise, this indication appearing on the new title.

Only 12 copies with Temminck's title and the date 1808 were published. Temminck reprinted the text and the plates in an 8vo format and completed his work (under the title Histoire naturelle générale des Pigeons et des Gallinacés) which he published in Amsterdam in 1813-1815, mentioning at the end of his monograph his unfortunate misadventure with Pauline Knip.

On the verso of the half-title of Volume 2, it is mentioned that although the discourse on the order of pigeons ends on page 13, and the descriptions begin on page 23, there is no gap, it is only a misprint.

Some foxing, often due to the old tissue papers, p.3 of the Doves creased, small light damp-staining on inner edge of the last 8 sheets and plates (vol. 1) – small light damp-staining on outer edge of volume, pl 31 heavily foxed on lower part, stains on pl 38, small tear on lower margin of pl 42, foxing on pl 49 (vol 2)

Brunet, V, 694 ; Anker 261 ; Nissen, IVB, 511 ; Zimmer I, 356-58 ; Ronsil 2890 ; Huzard I, 2890 ; Sitwell, p. 113 ("Superbly painted and reproduced these are among the finest of all bird plates") ; Fine Bird Books 113 ; Wood, p. 420 ; Zimmer, pp. 356-357.

KNIP, Mme (née Pauline de Courcelles) – THEMMINCK, Coenrad Jacob