PREVOST, Jean Louis (active circa 1760-circa 1810)
Etudes de Daufinel ou Pie-d'Alouette
[Pl. 6] Paris: Vilquin, 1805. Stipple engraving, printed in colours and finished by hand by Ruotte. Sheet size: 20 7/8 x 13 3/4 inches.
An exquisite plate of two delphinium sprays from arguably the most beautiful botanical work ever produced: "a work of outstanding importance and interest".
Contemporary with the work of Redouté, 'Collection des Fleurs et des Fruits' is one of the earliest examples of stipple engraved and colour-printed botanical illustration. Published in 12 cahiers (or parts) of 4 plates each, the work was compiled to assist designers of porcelain and fabric, with the plates often showing flowers grouped together, usually matched according to their flowering season. The greatest collection of flower books to be sold at auction in the 20th century was the de Belder collection, sold by Sotheby's in 1987. The catalogue was intended as a true reflection of the uniqueness of the collection, and the cover illustration selected to represent the best of the best was an image from Prevost's 'Collection des Fleurs et des Fruits'. Dunthorne describes it as, "a work of outstanding importance and interest...issued for the specific purpose of maintaining the great French tradition for excellence of design and draughtsmanship. Perhaps no other prints are more worthy of carrying on the tradition of Jean Baptiste and van Spaendonck than these fine examples of Prévost. Whether bouquets or sprays of flowers or fruit, they possess a splendour and freshness amounting almost to fragrance, which is largely due to the quality of the colour printing" (Dunthorne, p. 33).
Cf. Dunthorne p. 229; cf. Great Flower Books (1990), p. 127; cf. Nissen BBI 1568; cf. Pritzel 7332; cf. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 8319.