CHORIS, Louis (1795-1828)
Voyage Pittoresque autour du Monde, avec des portraits de sauvages d'Amérique, d'Asie, d'Afrique, et des iles du grand ocean; des paysages, des vues maritimes, et plusieurs objets d'histoire naturelle
Paris: Firmin Didot, 1822. Folio. (17 x 10 1/4 inches). 1p. list of subscribers and 2pp. list of plates in the rear. Lithographic portrait frontispiece of Count Romanzoff, 104 fine hand-coloured lithographs (89 by Choris, 13 after Choris by V.Adam, Franquelin, Norblin or Morlet, 1 after Albert de Chamisso, 1 unsigned, 98 printed by Langlumé [6 with no printer given]), 1 folding engraved map with routes marked in colours by hand, 2 lithographic charts on 1 leaf. Uncut. (Foxing to text and tissue guards, the plates quite clean).
Period half red morocco over marbled paper covered boards, spine in six compartments divided by wide semi-raised bands, tooled in gilt and blind on each band, lettered in gilt in the second compartment, the others with a repeat central decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers
Extremely rare, large-paper, fully hand-coloured issue of a fundamental work on Alaska, California and Hawaii and "one of the most beautiful books of travel in existence" (Hill): one of fifty such deluxe copies of the first edition.
Louis Choris, born Login Choris in Jekaterinolsaw, Russia, on 22 March 1795, was only twenty years old when he was appointed official artist aboard the Rurik, 1815-1818, commanded by the Russian, Otto von Kotzbue. "The purpose of the voyage was to search for the supposed Northwest Passage. After visiting islands in the South Seas, Kotzbue explored the North American coast and landed twice on the Hawaiian Islands ... [Choris's work] has great American interest because of its lithographs of California, the Queen Charlotte Islands, the Aleutians, St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea, and Kotzbue Sound in Alaska. The lithographs cover all aspects of native life and culture, as well as the natural history of the area. Choris was a Russian of German stock, and his book is considered one of the most beautiful books of travel in existence. A map of the route of the expedition accompanies the work" (Hill).
The work was issued in twenty-two parts, in three different forms: with the plates uncoloured, with just the natural history subjects coloured, or in a deluxe form, as here, on larger paper and with all the plates hand coloured. "Complete copies with all the plates colored are very rare" (Hill).
BM (NH) I, p.347; Brunet I,1851; Cowan p.123; Forbes I, 541; Graff 699; Hill 290; Howes C-397 'c'; Lada-Mocarski 84 (2nd variant); Nissen ZBI 881; Peters, California on Stone , pp. 97-98, Sabin 12884; Taylor p.117; Wickersham 6676.