Paris: Gabriel de Gonet, Éditeur, 1847. Two large octavo volumes, measuring 10.5 x 7 inches: , 6-262; , 2-102, I-IV, , 106-166, I-IV, , 170-236. Original dark brown textured pictorial cloth elaborately decorated in blind and gilt, bright yellow coated endpapers, all edges gilt. Hand-colored wood-engraved title page in each volume; 28 hand-colored engraved plates in Volume I; 22 hand-colored engraved plates, two pages of musical notation, and two uncolored botanical plates in Volume II. Scattered pinpoint foxing.
First edition of this influential floral fantasia, an enduring classic of French illustration, complete with hand-colored extra title pages and fifty hand-colored plates. Caricaturist Grandville “animates” everyday flowers, imagining them as a surreal series of women whose personalities reflect their botanical roots. Narcissus gazes raptly at her reflection in a pond, oblivious to her dragonfly and lizard companions; the flamboyantly turbaned Tulip appears as a sultana, “couchée sur son ottomane;” tipsy Grapevine sways and throws out her arms, grasping for support. Grandville’s parade of anthropomorphic flowers, accompanied by a whimsical miscellany of poems and tales, is followed by more substantive essays on the subject by “Comte Foelix,” pseudonym of writer Louis-François Raban: “Botanique Moderne des Dames,” “Horticulture des Dames,” and “Culture des Fleurs.” First edition, with “1847” to letterpress title pages, engraved title pages unsigned, and the plates without the decorative borders added in later printings; second issue, with separate pagination in each volume. Carteret III, 286. Text in French. A stunning copy, in the scarce publisher’s pictorial cloth binding.