Description de l’Égypte was published over a 20-year period with the ambitious goal of cataloguing all known aspects of ancient and modern Egypt, including its natural history. It was based on the work of the Institut d’Égypte, established by Napoleon Bonaparte in a palace outside of Cairo during his expedition in Egypt as part of the French Revolutionary Wars (1798-1801). 160 civilian scholars and scientists worked in the institute’s library, laboratories, and workshops. The idea of a comprehensive publication was conceived by the end of 1798. Production of the finished work took place on a monumental scale, involving 2000 artists and technicians, including 400 engravers. Among the prominent French artists who contributed to this work were botanical artist Pierre-Joseph Redoute and ornithological artist Jacques Barraband. There were two editions beginning in 1808, but in general, there are 10 volumes of plates comprising a total of 894 plates made from over 3000 drawings. Of these ten, the first five volumes of plates depicted Antiquitiés [Antiquities], two État Moderne [Modern State], two Histoire Naturelle [Natural History] and one of maps. The second edition is known as the Panckoucke edition, published by Charles Louis Fleury Panckoucke in the 1820s.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual toning, wear, handling, soft creases. Occasional scattered light foxing. Margins with scattered short tears, chipping, etc., all easily matted out.
Abu-Lughod, Janet L. and Nezar AlSayyad. “Cairo.” Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Cairo#ref107266 (18 February 2021).
“Description de l’Égypte.” Wikipedia. 4 August 2020. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Description_de_l%27%C3%89gypte (22 January 2021).