Sale 624 Lot 43
* CHAPPE D'AUTEROCHE, Jean (1728-1769). Voyage en Sibérie…en 1761. Paris: Chez Debure, 1768.
4 volumes, comprising: 2 text volumes in 3 and atlas, 4to (335 x 249 mm). Text: engraved frontispiece by J.B. Tilliard after J.B. le Prince, 54 engraved plates and plans (4 folding) by J.P. le Bas, J.B. Tilliard, A. de St. Aubin, C. Baquoy, et al after le Prince, C. de Fecamp, and J.M. Moreau, one engraved table, engraved vignette by Duclos after le Prince on title, woodcut vignettes on other titles, engraved head-piece and type-ornament head-pieces, woodcut tail-pieces, letterpress tables in the text, retaining errata and instructions to the binder leaves. Atlas: engraved frontispiece by J.B. Tilliard after J.B. le Prince, 30 engraved maps (27 folding, one outlined in color). Contemporary French autumn leaf calf gilt, spines gilt (minor wear to joints, extremities with minor repairs). Provenance: Dalancourt (18th-century bookseller's label).
FIRST EDITION of Chappe's account of his journey to Siberia to observe the transit of Venus in 1761 as part of an effort of European scientists dispatched to various places around the globe in order to take measurements from as many disparate locations as possible to calculate the size of the solar system for the first time. Chappe was appointed to travel to Tobolsk in Siberia, where he observed the transit guarded by a squad of Cossacks -- necessary to protect him from the suspicious local population. The engravings after Jean-Baptiste Le Prince, a student of François Boucher, are particularly attractive, offering a rococo vision of Siberian life. Volume two contains his translation of Krasheninnikov's Opisanie zemli Kamchatki (St Petersburg: 1755). Although a French translation had been previously published, it was based on the abridged English translation, whereas Chappe worked from the original Russian. According to the preface, the translation was made in St. Petersburg, where he consulted Gerhard Friedrich Müller-supervisor of both Krasheninnikov and Steller on Bering's second expedition. Cox I, 352; Hill 277; see Lada-Mocarski 12; Wickersham 6607.