Beautiful Gardens

Gabriel THOUINPlans raisonnés de toutes les espèces de jardins.

Paris, De l'Imprimerie de Lebégue, 1820.

Folio, old marbled paper boards, paper label on spine, untrimmed. Half-title, 56pp. (including the title and dedication), 1 unnumbered errata leaf. 57 fine lithographed plates of garden plans and views, by C. Motte and Bernard after designs by the author. The plates are numbered 1-56 in manuscript, there is an unnumbered plate between plates 25 & 26. Complete.

Rare First Edition of a highly influential book of garden design.

“This is the most beautiful work that has ever been published in France on pleasure gardens; almost all the plans that the author presents have been executed on site under his direction. The characteristic features of Gabriel Thouin’s work are a choice of elegant curves for the alleys, a skillful choice of points of view in order to achieve picturesque effect, and varied uses of clumps and coppices in order to enhance these effects. He has been copied in a rather awkward way by many landscape architects” (John Dixon Hunt).

Gabriel Thouin (1747-1829) was a member of a celebrated gardening family which provided three successive head gardeners at the Jardin du Roi (the present Jardin des Plantes in Paris). The plates consist of full page bird’s-eye view plans surrounded by small vignettes showing details of small garden buildings and other structures (bridges, etc.). The influence of the Picturesque English garden is evident throughout. The work, which depicts both actual gardens designed by Thouin as well as proposed designs, was aimed at landscapers at all levels, providing working plans for many different types of gardens, including large parks, pleasure gardens, orchards, a Chinese garden, an English garden, a pharmaceutical garden and more. The first edition was issued uncoloured.

Three plates faintly toned, a very good fresh copy.

Ref. Brunet, V, 842-3 (1828 edition) / Berlin Katalog, 3483 (third edition) / John Dixon Hunt, Tradition and Innovation in French Garden Art, pp. 163-164 / Mosser & Teyssot, The Architecture of Western Gardens, 377

Price: 3.000,00 euros

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