[French manuscript classical atlas:] “Atlas pour le cours de Géographie et d’Histoire ancienne pendant l’année Scolaire 1840. Avec le Sommaire de chaque leçon.”
Essentially a painstakingly completed school exercise, which has resulted in the creation of a highly attractive atlas to accompany a course in ancient history, covering the period from the Assyrian Empire to the demise of Alexander’s Empire in eight maps, each of them accompanied by a brief explanatory text. Individual maps include Egypt and Arabia; the Assyrian and Persian Empires; Asia Minor; Greece, the Greek Colonies; and the Expeditions of Alexander. There are also full page watercolours of the Parthenon and the Hephaestion, or Temple of Theseus, in Athens. The setting of such tasks was a relatively common practice in the early 19th century, but it was very rare indeed for the result to be such a highly finished and assured piece, here bound with commensurate care.
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Landscape quarto (222 290 mm). Contemporary burgundy pebble-grained morocco, title direct to the spine which is decorated in “Rocaille” style with repeated foliate arabesques, floral and bird tools, both boards with double fillet – wide/narrow – gilt panel enclosing an elaborate decorative panel similarly composed to the spine decoration with numerous flamboyant large foliate arabesques, all edges gilt, broad swagged roll gilt to the turn-ins, hand-finished floral-sprigged black surface-paper endpapers 36-leaf manuscript with title-page vignette of an oak and laurel wreath in black and sepia, and 6 other vignettes, 8 detailed full-page maps finished in colours, and 4 full-page watercolour illustrations en grisaille, accompanying text in a neat calligraphic hand. A little light shelf-wear, some discolouration at the gutter of the front and rear blanks, one front free endpaper somewhat creased, the text a little browned, but otherwise clean, a well-finished and handsomely-presented example.