ou recueil des observations
- Lacks the col. frontisp. to the first plate vol. of the Antiquités and without 4 later published text vols.: vol. 9 ("Antiquités - Mémoires et Descriptions") and vol. 22-24 ("Histoire Naturelle - Zoologie"); all text vols. sl. foxed; occas. sl. dogeared at beginning and end (incl. wrappers); first text vol. occas. marking/ underlining in red pencil. Wrappers of vol. 10 darkened; frontwr. of vol. 1 one sm. hole (also present in first few leaves) and 1 indented spot. Maps and plates in plate vols. occas. sl./ trifle foxed in blank margin, but generally in fine condition; topographical atlas vol. several maps w. repaired hole in blank margin. Mor. letterpieces on spines of plate vols. partly worn/ dam.
= Collation of plate vols. as follows:
1. Atlas vol.: letterpress title, engr. title, engr. "tableau d'assemblage", engr. "caractères topographiques" and 50 (double-p.) engr. maps;
2. Antiquités (5 vols.): engr. dedic. plate and 419 (fold.) double-p./ single-p. maps and plates;
3. État moderne (2 vols.): 170 (fold.) double-p./ single-p. maps and plates;
4. Histoire naturelle (2 parts in 3 vols.): 256 (fold.) double-p./ single-p. maps and plates (incl. the following 10 plates: "Médaille Égyptienne", "Médailles trouvées en Syrie", "Inscription intermédiaire de la Pierre de Rosette" (8 sheets with 16 numbered plates) and "Tableau synoptique des constellations (...)" w. letterpress "Description du tableau").
In the course of 1798, Napoléon convinced the "Directoire" that it would be better to aim at conquering Egypte rather than attacking Great Britain and swiftly (and secretly) began his preparations for this expedition. In a very short time he had organized his forces (200 ships and roughly 35.000 troups) and, importantly because it was the guise that kept his military intents secret, a commission of scientists and numerous accompanying artists and technicians. They sailed off to their destination in May 1798. After having conquered the island of Malta within ten days, Napoleon succesfully deluded the English into believing that his intent was to sail on to Turkey. He first landed in Alexandria, where his troups disembarked, and after having conquered Alexandria, marched on to Cairo. The scientists and other members of the scientific commission remained on board and eventually reached Cairo via the Nile. There their scientific work gained momentum, despite several severe setbacks (i.a. loss of valuable scientific instruments) and, although many of the troops and artists, technicians and scientists did not survive the Egyptian campaign, the results of their immense and deeply impressive research reached France in 1801, where it took over 300 men 18 years of work to create this invaluable and beautifully executed work, which formed the basis of all subsequent research in the 19th century on the history of Egypt. The first edition was published between 1809-1822, the second edition followed in its footsteps between 1820-1829. De Meulenaer p.66f; Blackmer 526 note; cf. Atabey 343 (ed. 1809-1828); Navari 476. SEE ILLUSTRATIONS PLATE CXLII.