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The Rugendas Letters:
Johann Moritz Rugendas’
First Voyage to Brazil
The Sections of Cap Trafalgar
The First Prussian Maritime Atlas
All the Abundance
From Far East to the Mississippi
From Boat to Ship of the Line 1st Class to Steamer
From Launching Ways to Shipwreck
Lebreton – Morel-Fatio – Album de Marine. Set of
80 chalk lithographs
with 111 ship & maritime motifs
after Louis Lebreton (41), Antoine Léon Morel-Fatio (37) as well as two further (2) in upright and – quite predominant – oblong formats. Paris, Monrocq, no year (c. 1870). 4to. Loose in red cloth box with 3 closing ribbons (1 torn off).
Cf. Polak 5515. – Not in Bibliothèque Nationale, British Library, Library of Congress. – Merely single plates in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, (3, Lebreton) and Nederl. Scheepvaartsmuseum (c. 8, 7 of which Morel-Fatio), with only 2 appearing as secured for present edition. – In German trade in the 1970s figuring under the same title just Lebreton’s 40 plates. – Here not provable later (posthumous?) compilation of apparently different series each with addition of the title above left and continuous numbering 1-80 above right as well as the printer’s address “Paris, Monrocq fr. Edit. Imp. r. Suger, 3.”, partly also – also additionally – “Imp. Monrocq à Paris” (5) / “Imp. J. Monrocq” (9) and with addition “Paris” (2) resp., at the lower edge. Three plates without address. – Mostly inscribed and monogrammed resp. in the stone, three plates additionally dated 1855/56/60, one further illegibly. – 9 plates feebly foxed. Within the subject of pl. 35 as well as on the back of pl. 34 stronger fox spot, 1 plate with vertical pleat originating from printing. The box especially at the corners somewhat age-marked, the front cover a little stained, here and at the back slightly paled.
In the rich abundance of the ships
— partly set before fine landscape or harbor scenery —
boats and fishing boats of all kinds & regions , sloop , galliot , koff , tartana , Chinese and Japanese junks , Venetian gondola , Turkish caïque , felucca , xebecs , polacre , pilot boats – i. a. of New York – , an English yacht , brigs , clipper , a Baltimore schooner , in heavy seas a
whaler among blowing whales ,
frigates & ships of the line of various classes , frequently already with additional steam engine for paddle or propeller , ironclads , steamers , paddlewheel packet boats for the transatlantic traffic , the
Mississippi steamboat “Uncas” .
Noteworthy further atmospheric seascapes , charming harbor scenes , a naval battle of paddle and propeller driven, yet still full-rigged ships of the line as well as a
Brazilian schooner amongst pod of dolphins .
Topped off finally for beginning and end of a ship’s life by some shipyard and shipwreck scenes as well as scrapping in the harbor.
(Le Breton, Douarnenez [Finistère] 1818 – Paris 1866), son of a navy surgeon, passes through the École de Médecine de la Marine in Brest and then, not even 19 years old, takes part as assistant surgeon on board the L’Astrolabe on her second circumnavigation 1837-40 under his uncle’s, Jules Dumont d’Urville, command. Trained during the voyage by Ernest Goupil (1814-1840), the official painter of this at once final of the great scientific circumnavigations, in drawing and painting, he becomes his successor following his death in Hobart (Tasmania) early 1840. Result of the voyage is the Atlas pittoresque du Voyage au Pôle Sud et en Océanie with 534 etched and lithographed plates from Goupil’s and Lebreton’s drawings. Returned to France, by Dumont d’Urville’s recommendation Lebreton is employed in the Dépôt des Cartes et Plans in Paris, which gives him enough time for painting. After two more voyages as ship’s surgeon 1844/5 he quits the service in 1847 and devotes himself until his death from cholera exclusively to marine painting. Decidedly prolific in his field, Louis Lebreton becomes by it the chronicler of the
epochal revolution of seafaring
by the development from sailing ship to steamship
during the Second Empire as documented here then also by numerous delineations of ships with mixed propulsion right up to the already almost sailless British packet boat in the Channel.
(Rouen 1810 – Paris 1871), born into a family of bankers, was first trained in the art of navigation aboard an English merchant ship before he joined the parental bank. However, rather filling the books with ornamental drawings than numbers, after a stopover with another bank he finally turns to the arts and successfully shows already as 23-years-old two marine pieces from the conquest of Algeria at the Salon in 1833. 1838 entrusted by Horace Vernet with the execution of the Battle of San Juan de Ulúa, voyages to Constantinople and as company to Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, future Napoleon III, follow.
(Précis analytique des travaux de l’Académie Royale des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Rouen pendant l’année 1843 [& 1846], Rouen [1844/46], pp. 173 and 156 f. resp.).
Appointed Peintre de la Marine in 1853, the other year during the Crimean War he joins the expeditions into the Black Sea and to Bomarsund, Russia’s fortress on the Åland Islands taken and destroyed by an Anglo-French fleet. At the same time since 1852 curator of the Musée national de la Marine, Morel-Fatio is not only instrumental in the expansion of the collection – including in particular Joseph Vernet’s harbor views – , but extends this by own departments for ethnography and Chinese art. When 1871 the Prussians reach the Louvre and in such a manner occupy not just Paris but also the collection he is entrusted with, Morel-Fatio suffers a stroke on the terrace.
Beside numerous book illustrations noteworthy i. a. Études de marine positive with inclusive of illustrated title 44 etchings as well as the two lithographed series Marine militaire français and Suite des Navires du Commerce of 12 plates each, from which at least in part also the plates here should originate.
Stylistically different indeed – the two sheets inscribed Ch. Leduc and D. Larn (?) resp. fit in inconspicuously – here then united in the tender charm of chalk lithography
at anchor , under way or heavy seas ,
world-spanning all the abundance of the ships under sail & steam .
Offer no. 28,987 / EUR 2300. / export price EUR 2185. (c. US$ 2643.) + shipping
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