12mo (149 x 82 mm.).  ff., xxxvi, 319,  pp. Engraved frontispiece of a gardener in classical setting, by Benoît Louis Prévost, Barbou’s woodcut device on title, woodcut, typographic and engraved head- & tailpieces. Publisher’s list of other works from the Collection d’Auteurs Latins on last page. Printed on pale blue paper (papier bleuté). Fine. Contemporary French gold-tooled red morocco, covers tooled to a dentelle design, smooth spine gilt with flower tools, gilt edges, blue watered silk liners (light scuffing to extremities, faint stain on front cover). Provenance: bookplates of Charles Lormier (oval monogrammed booklabel with motto Vita sina litteris mors est; sale, 7 parts, Paris, 1901-1907); Jules Lemaître (sale, Paris, 18 June 1917, no. 443); Henri Beraldi (sale, part 3, Paris, 18 Dec. 1934, no. 212); Alain de Rothschild.***
A bibliophilic copy of an erudite edition, the first with Brotier’s commentary, of Rapin’s influential neo-Latin poem on gardening, first published in 1665. Brotier added a biographical introduction, exhaustive notes, and two long essays, on classical horticulture and on gardens in general, with an index of plant names in Latin and French.
Rapin, whose poem is packed with classical allusions, was one of the only modern writers to be included in Joseph-Gérard Barbou’s Collection d’Auteurs Latins, all 68 volumes of which could be purchased (bound in calf) for 395 livres, as advertised on the last page. This copy was evidently highly prized and passed from one eminent bibliophile’s library to the next.
Quérard VII:454; Brunet IV:1114; Sommervogel de Backer VI:1446. Item #3117