DENON, Dominique Vivant (1747-1825)
Voyage dans la Basse et la Haute Egypte pendant les campagnes du General Bonaparte
Paris: P. Didot, An X . 2 volumes (text large quarto [12 x 9 1/8 inches], atlas large folio [23 x 17 inches]). Text: half-title, list of subscribers. Atlas: 143 engraved plates (numbered 1-141, plus 20 bis and 54 bis) on 142 sheets (plates 4 and 5 on the same sheet). Uncut.
Contemporary French blue paper covered boards, expert repairs to the spine of the atlas. Housed in blue morocco backed boxes.
Provenance: Armaney (contemporary signature on the front blank of text and title of atlas)
A foundation work of Egyptology by "the first to reveal the richness of Egyptian art to Europe" (Atabey).
"At [Napoleon] Bonaparte's invitation Denon eagerly accepted an opportunity to join the expedition to Egypt (1798), and while there accompanied General Louis Charles Antoine Desaix up and down the Nile in pursuit of Murad Bey, recording antiquities as he went. He returned to France with Napoleon in 1800, and within the space of two years produced his monumental Voyage dans la basse et la haute Egypte , which contained 141 of his illustrations" (Howgego).
The remarkable plates which illustrate this work, each described in detail in the accompanying text, are of great importance to Egyptology as they illustrate for the first time many new discoveries. Denon accompanied Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, and the present series of plates are among the great artistic achievements of that monumental campaign.
The work was first published in two folio volumes in 1802. Later that year the present edition was published with the text in large quarto and the atlas in "folio atlantique"; octavo, duodecimo and other editions followed. "Denon's work has been justly praised. As a member of the Commission des Sciences et Arts which accompanied Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, he remained in Egypt for thirteen months, working continuously to record the Egyptian monuments. He was the first to reveal the richness of Egyptian art to Europe" (Atabey).
Blackmer 471; Gay 1998; Atabey 338 (1807 edition); Carre I: pp. 118-125; Howgego D34.