2 CAMUS, E.G. Iconographie des orchidées With 42 watercolours 10


Description: With 42 original watercolour drawings of orchids. One of 12 sets produced
CAMUS, Edmond Gustave.
Iconographie des orchidées des environs de Paris.
Paris, Paindebled, 1885. 2 volumes. Royal folio (atlas volume: 48 x 31 cm) and folio (text volume: 39.5 x 27 cm). With 42 original watercolour drawings, highlighted with gum arabic, each signed by the author. They are numbered 1-40, with a "duplicate" no. 25 and an unnumbered drawing not normally included in the series. The photogravure text volume with calligraphic wrapper-title and dedication, and text reproduced from manuscript (mostly from the author's autograph). The atlas volume with the watercolours mounted on heavy paper in the original green cloth portfolio.
€ 12,500
Splendid set of exquisite watercolour drawings of orchids from the neighbourhood of Paris, one of only 12 sets produced by the author. They are meticulously drawn in black ink and beautifully coloured by the author, signed by him, and mounted on heavy paper. Each shows the entire plant with flowers, stem, leaves and root, with detail drawings around it, most of the detail drawings also coloured. The accidental inclusion of an extra drawing no. 25 shows the degree of variation when Camus made two drawings of the same plant. The unnumbered drawing is labelled "Ophrys Scolopax" in manuscript on the drawing itself. It is not usually included in the series, but matches the others and is also signed by Camus.
Camus (1852-1915), a pharmacist and botanist, lived near l'Isle Adam, about 15 kilometres north of Paris, and numerous orchid varieties grew there. He therefore collected them and made drawings, planning to publish an illustrated taxonomy. Difficulties with the editors ended the project prematurely, so to make his work available to a few colleagues, he laboriously made 12 sets of the 40 drawings and had the handwritten text printed by photogravure. He gave copies to two libraries and the others went to colleagues, friends and family members. When he later added two more volumes he reproduced his drawings photographically.
In very good condition, with only minor wear to the spine of the wrappers for the text volume and to the portfolio for the atlas volume. A great showpiece for any botanical collection.
Bull. Soc. Bot. France 7 (1885), pp. 329-330; Camus et al., Iconogr. des Orchidées d’Europe, p. 10; Willing 458; not in Stafleu & Cowan.
  • Number: 1060714
  • Dealer: Robert Putman