du Monceau, Duhamel (1700-1782)


H. L. Duhamel du Monceau (1700-1782)
After Pierre-Joseph Redoute (1759-1840)
From: Nouveau Traite des Arbres Fruitiers [New Treatise on Fruit Trees]
Paris: Early 19th Century
Hand colored stipple engravings
Sheet size: 21” x 13 ½”; Framed size: 14" x 20 3/4"

One of the most splendid books on fruit ever produced, Traite des Arbres Fruitiers was the result of the collaboration of two lifelong friends, Pierre Jean Francois Turpin (1775-1840) and Pierre-Antoine Poiteau (1766-1854). The son of a poor artisan, Turpin was largely self-taught but had studied the basic elements of drawing in the art school of his hometown, Vire. At 19, after entering the military five years prior, Turpin was sent to San Domingo in the West Indies where he met the young botanist, and student of the great botanist Pierre-Antoine Poiteau, whom was a student of the great botanical artist Pierre Joseph Redoute. This inspired in Turpin an enthusiasm for natural history.

Both Turpin and Poiteau were outstanding botanical artists of the “Redoute” style, and utilized the same techniques of hand-colored stipple engraving that Redoute had devised. The plates were printed by Langlois, a great master of printing who had supervised much of Redoute’s work. Poiteau wrote all of the text to accompany the illustrations. The work covers almonds, peaches and nectarines, apricots and greengages, plums, grapes, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, currants, pears (over 100 varieties), apples, hazelnuts, walnuts, figs, and even avocados. Only nine plates illustrate citrus fruit, as citrus fruits had been comprehensively dealt with in Poiteau and Risso’s publication Histoire Naturelle des Orangers (1818-22).

This ‘new edition’ was in fact a completely new work, loosely based on Henri Loius Duhamel du Monceau’s Traité des Arbres Fruitiers, published in 1768. Duhamel du Monceau, a French botanist, had the artists Claude Aubriet (ca. 1665-1747) and Madeleine Basseporte (1701-80) illustrate the fruit species to be included in the published work.