1658 Histoire Naturelle et Morale des Iles Antilles de l'Amerique, de Rochefort


Richly illustrated, an attractive 17th century work written for the principal purpose of convincing other Huguenots to emigrate to the Caribbean. It described the islands and the natives in glowing terms, to make the Antilles seem a desirable destination for Protestants living in a France that barely tolerated them.

“Rochefort was very good at describing the flora and fauna of the Antilles, especially the plants. And he provided attractive engravings of many of the tropical plants he described. Rochefort liked to depict natives interacting with the plants, which makes his engravings even more attractive, from an ethnological point of view.” - William B. Ashworth, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Charles de Rochefort online biography

I count 32 inline engravings and eleven full-page engravings. Two pages of this work were replaced in facsimile (old repair, bound in), which includes one of the inline engravings, and one full-page. Also, there was no frontis, so I printed a rudimentary facsimile on acid-free paper so the buyer could have that also (loose in book).

Price reflects condition, at the time of this listing the cheapest copy offered on the market (per Vialibri) was $1,250 (offered by E C Books) and also with two facsimile leaves.

About the Author -

There are two states of this printing, one with the preface signed "L.D.P.", with L.D.P identified as Longvilliers de Poincy, and the other C. de Rochefort. For many years the authorship was debated.

"The author has been variously identified as the Count Charles-César de Rochefort, César de Rochefort, Jean-Baptiste du Tertre, Louis de Poincy, and Charles de Rochefort. Convincing proof of Charles de Rochefort's authorship (an identification which Sabin accepts) is presented in: The authorship and purpose of the Histooire naturelle et morale des îles Antilles, an early Huguenot emigration guide / Everett C. Wilkie, Jr. (In Harvard Library bulletin, n.s., II, 3 (Fall 1991)). Wilkie sees evidence that Poincy may have collaborated with Rochefort in the 1st ed." - U.S. Library of Congress entry, control number 02008900

"Charles de Rochefort, a French Huguenot minister and missionary, was born in 1605 and died in 1683. He spent at least a decade in the Caribbean, from 1636 to the mid- 1640s, on Tobago and what we now call St. Kitts, before returning to take up a post as minister at a Huguenot Church in Rotterdam, a position that he held the rest of his life."

The Caribbean vocabulary section was written by Raymond Breton.

Bibliographic Details -

Worldcat OCLC number 491515582. Not rare, found in many of the world's best libraries.

This copy the state with the preface signed, "L.D.P.".

Physical Attributes -

Measures approx. 23 x 17 x 3.5 cm. Rudimentary binding; leather spine, marbled paper covered hardcover boards.

Illustrated. 32 inline illustrations, eleven full-page (but 1 inline and 1 full-page facsimile). Full-page plate of dedicatee. I printed a very rudimentary engraved frontis on acid-free paper (loose).

Pages - 7 leaves prefatory, pages numbered 1-527, 10 pages of tables, 1 page blank (verso of last leaf). Pages 115-118 in facsimile.

Collation - a2-4, b4, A-Z4, Aa-Zz4, Aaa-Xxx4, Yyy2. P2 and P3 in facsimile.

Condition -

See pictures. Binding has wear and rubs, corners a little worn; 20th century binding. Ticket of CPJ Van Der Peet Antiquariaat on pastedown. The engraved frontis was missing; I printed a very rudimentary copy on acid-free paper so that you could have it (loose). Title page is tipped in, rather high up the gutter along endpaper; repair at bottom gutter, "1,595" in graphite at top, "(de Rochefort)" in pen over printer's mark, fox spots and moisture mark just at bottom corner. Toning to pages, rust spots, thumbing, occasional page edge chip, ink marks, dog-eared page, candle ember spot, etc. throughout. A little worming (not excessive). Some moisture intrusions from edges throughout, sometimes into text. Portrait of Amproux repaired at bottom gutter and bottom corner, loss of "r" on name. Bottom gutter 7, 47, 49 repaired. Rudimentary tissue tear repair on 67. P2 and P3 (p115-118) missing but replaced with facsimiles from a different edition (but with same text and illustrations). Some numbers written on illustrations.

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