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50 coloured maritime prints of exceptional quality, by a Dutch naval officer/artist

COMTE, Pieter le II.
Afbeeldingen van schepen en vaartuigen, in verschillende bewegingen.
Amsterdam, F. Kaal (printed by J. J. Nesser Jr.), 1831. Oblong 4to (23.5 x 31 cm). With 50 nicely hand coloured lithographic plates in crayon technique, depicting boats and ships, including 1 steam boat and 7 plates showing details of rigging and equipment. Contemporary boards covered with the original letterpress printed paper wrapper. Signed by the author/artist as authentication, and with his embossed stamp in the foot margin of each plate. [8], 60, [3] pp.
€ 7,500
First and only edition of a lovely and technically accurate series of lithographic prints showing a wide variety of ships and boats, mostly Dutch but including some foreign examples. Most are shown in full sail, sometimes with coasts in the background. The steam boat is especially interesting: the first Dutch steam boat operated only for a few weeks in 1817, and it was in the course of the 1820s that successful steam boat lines came into operation, so that the present is a very early example. The illustrations were drawn and lithographed by Le Comte (1802-1849) who also wrote the sixty-page explanatory text. He was an active naval officer as well as a painter, draftsman and lithographic artist, so that he understood the technical details of ships and rigging, giving the present prints a much greater value as historical documents than prints by a lay artist. This technical knowledge is also clearly reflected in the detailed plates giving very precise images of rigging and some equipment.
Very good copy, from the library of Johannes Enschedé "Jr." (1785-1866), with his name on the flyleaf. With a few plates foxed. The wrappers, pasted on the boards, are browned. Cat. NHSM, p. 756; Irene de Groot & Robert Vorstman, Zeilschepen, 219-227; for the author/artist: Scheen, p. 97.
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Low countries  >  Drawings, Manuscripts & Documents | Maritime & Military History
Maritime history  >  Drawings, Prints & Watercolours | Ships & Shipbuilding