Sale 624 Lot 99
* HUMBOLDT, Alexander von, (1769-1859) and Aime J. A. BONPLAND (1773-1858). Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique. Paris: Chez F. Schoell [de l'Imprimerie de J.H. Stône], 1810.
Folio (519 x 336 mm). HALF-TITLES, DESCRIPTIVE TEXT AND FIRST LEAF OF NOTES PRINTED ENTIRELY ON VELLUM. 69 engraved, etched and aquatint plates printed on Papier Velin, mostly engraved by Bouquet in Paris or by Arnold in Berlin after sketches by Humboldt and drawings by Aguera, Koch, Marchais and others, on 68 sheets (nos. 8 and 9 on one sheet) including 25 hand-colored and one hand-colored double-page view of Chimborazo. Modern crimson straight-grain morocco gilt, by Aquarius.
FIRST EDITION of the "most beautiful and generally interesting of Humboldt's works" (Sabin). A REMARKABLE AND UNIQUE UNRECORDED ISSUE WITH TEXT PRINTED ON VELLUM. The folio Vues des Cordillères, et monumens des peuples indigènes de l'Amérique was published as the atlas volume to part one of Humboldt's monumental Voyages aux regiones Equinoxiale du Nouveau continent, fait en 1799… 1804. It is the most magnificent result of their scientific mission to Mexico, Central America and Spanish South America, especially to the highlands of the Andes. The itinerary covered by the text and plates is their journey over the Cordillera, following the Andes from Columbia into Peru and Lima, and their archeological investigations in Central America and Mexico. The plates were engraved from Humboldt's drawings with the hand-coloring done under his supervision. They are amongst the finest on South America, especially the double-page hand-colored view of Chimborazo. It was on this volcanic peak that Bonpland and Humboldt set a world mountaineering altitude record with their ascent to over 6,000m.
The present copy is unique with the descriptive text and first leaf of Notes and Index (pp. 1-308) printed entirely on vellum; the three half-titles printed on vellum with the imprint on versos of J. H. Stone. The part-title to "Planches…" and the Notes and Index (pp. 309-350) and all the plates printed on Papier Velin. This unique copy printed on vellum was perhaps a trial for an unrealized deluxe vellum issue. The printing of the Notes and plates is the superior of the two states of the book listed by Brunet, being on Papier Velin with the plates lettered en grises. The present copy is the early issue, without the 16pp, introduction dated 1813, and early state of the text.
OF THE UTMOST RARITY: this issue with the text on vellum is unrecorded, with no copy in the British Library or the Bibliothèque nationale, and is unknown to bibliographers. Brunet III:373; Hill, p. 148; Palau 117013; Sabin 33754.