(1792 – 1857 / 1798 – 1874)

Explication de la carte géologique de la France, rédigée sous la direction de M. Brochant de Villiers. Atlas par Bayle et Zeiller.

6 parts in 4 volumes 4° (264×215 mm), and large-4° (355×275 mm) plus box for the map (264x203x64 mm). Tome premier: Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1841XXII, 825 pp., 71 text engravings (mainly profiles), one large folding geological map of France („Tableau d‘Assemblage“, 570×540 mm, mounted on linen) chromolithographed and finished by hand; Tome deuxième: Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1848. XII, 813 pp., 105 text engravings (mainly views and profiles); Tome troisième. Première partie (by Dufrénoy): Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1873. VIII, 231 pp., 18 text engravings (mainly profiles); Tome quatrième. Seconde partie. Végétaux fossiles du terrain houiller (by Zeiller): Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1879. 185 pp.; Tome quatrième. Atlas. Première partie. Fossiles principaux des terrains (by É. Bayle). Seconde partie. Végétaux fossiles du terrain houiller (by Zeiller): Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1878. Title page, half title to first part, 176 lithographed plates with explanatory text leaves (the last 16 on plants). Map of France at a scale of 1:500,000 divided into 6 folding parts (each ca. 740×1130 mm) and mounted on linen. Volumes I, II, and IV in near uniform contemporary black shagreen backed marbled boards, smooth spine gilt; Volume III in contemporary fawn calf backed mabled boards, spine on raised bands, with red and green gilt letteruing label; Box for the maps covered with fawn glossy paper, spine with two black lettering labels gilt. All volumes rubbed, box scuffed. Some foxing, map somewhat browned, erased stamps to plans, some plates and titles (causing small holes in title page of vols I, II and IV). Paris, Imprimerie Royale, Imprimerie Nationale, 1841-1879.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ward & Carozzi 859-860.
Complete set, both for the text and for the plates together with the first geological map of France. André Brochant de Villiers (1772-1840), then a professor at the École des Mines de Paris, had the decision adopted to produce a Geological Map of France, at the time when Greenough‘s Geological Map of England had just been published. Two young mining engineers, Armand Dufrénoy and Léonce Elie de Beaumont, who began their training in England by learning Greenough‘s principles, were assigned to accomplish the task. At that time, the geological structure of France was not well known and its general features were barely sketched out. On their return in 1825, geological exploration began, with Élie de Beaumont examining the eastern part of France and Dufrénoy the western part. 80,000 km were covered over almost fifteen years and the engraving of the map was finally completed in 1840. These geological explorations led to the writing of numerous descriptive memoirs. Dufrénoy and Élie de Beaumont published some of them in the Annales des Mines, before grouping them together in the Mémoires pour servir à une description géologique de la France (1830-1838). A new series, the one at hand, entitled Explication de la carte géologique de la France, began to appear in 1841. „This accomplishment was also the posthumous coronation of nearly twenty years of commitment by André Brochant de Villiers, who had died the previous year, to design the project and supervise its realisation step by step, so that this map, most often considered the map of Dufrénoy and Élie de Beaumont, who were its skilled craftsmen, would deserve to bear the name of their master who was its designer and architect“ (Jean Gaudant, A. Brochant de Villiers, concepteur de la Carte géologique de la France, in: Travaux du Comité français d‘Histoire de la Géologie, 2009, 3eme série, tome 23, pp. 67-88). [369026].