DAMAME-DÉMARTRAIS, Michel François (1763-1828)
Paris et ses alentours, à plus de trente lieues à la ronde; ouvrage national de gravures
Paris: Firmin Didot, 1818. Large folio. (28 3/4 x 21 inches). Letterpress title (verso blank), 1p. dedication to Louis XVIII (verso blank), 1p. 'avant-propos' (verso blank), 30ll. explanatory text (all but two printed recto only, one leaf preceding each plate). 30 fine uncoloured aquatint plates by and after Damame-Démartrais. (The 12th plate, a view of Notre-Dame, with a repaired tear in the outer margin).
Contemporary blue/green straight-grained morocco-backed paper-covered boards, the flat spine divided into six compartments by double gilt fillets, lettered in the second compartment, old repairs to spine
A beautiful and rare large-scale work of views of Paris and its environs.
According to Dulau's 1828 catalogue this work was originally sold in parts. They offered the present uncoloured issue at £20 (item 12456), whilst the issue with the plates printed in colours and finished by hand (item 12457) was on sale at £40. An idea of the book's current rarity can be garnered from the fact that OCLC list only a single copy: that in the Victoria & Albert Museum's "National Art Library" in London, and even the distinguished Bobins collection contains only a fragmentary work (with 5 plates in two states). Damame-Démartrais is now best known for his Collection complete des divers jardins et points de vue des maisons de plaisance imperiales de Russie.... [Paris, 1811]: a result of the nine years he spent living in Moscow and St.Petersburg between 1796 and 1805. Paris born, Damame-Démartrais was apparently taught by David but is now celebrated for his drawings and aquatints. The present work, dedicated to King Louis XVIII, was prompted by the artist's wish to record the new open vistas in Paris and its environs: each of the beautiful large-scale plates is accompanied by brief text which gives relevant details of the subject. The artist also notes in the 'avant-propos' that this work fills a gap, as there were no other comparable books of views of Paris and its environs. The majority of the plates are of places in Paris, but, as the title suggests, there are also a significant minority of the views of beautiful locations outside the city.
Cf. Bobins The Exotic and the Beautiful II, 516; A Catalogue of the Library of the Athenæum (1845) p.85; A. Dulau & Co. Catalogue of Books in Foreign Languages , A. Dulau & Co. (1828) p.600; F. E. Joubert, père. Manuel de l'Amateur d'Estampes (1821) p.386; Le Blanc Manuel (1856) II, p.84.