Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1779, 1780.
Two [of five] volumes. Quartos, xvi, 264 & iv, 240. Each 'Tome' with an engraved vignette title and ninety-five engraved illustrations. Christian Hirschfeld (1742 - 1792), Enlightenment scholar and rationalist, is perhaps best known for this five volume work on gardens. Published in German as the 'Theorie der Gartenkunst' at the same time as this French edition, Hirschfeld attempted to delineate the garden with the scientific powers of his scholarship while still allowing a natural and essential sentimentality to remain. Feted as the man who introduced the 'English' garden to Scandinavia, this Kiel University professor devoted an enormous quantity of time and effort to this, his magnum opus. The work treats all aspects of the garden and is noteworthy for its descriptions of many of the finest European gardens of the day. Hirschfeld's scholarship did not cease here, however, for his chief aim was to depict the garden in its entirety, thus many of the illustrations are architectural, or depict features such as bridges and grottos, for in his opinion, there was no point in attempting the design of a garden without taking into account its purpose and indeed its situation. We have been unable to locate another copy of this Amsterdam imprint of Hirschfeld's work, originally published in Leipzig in the same years, so it remains unclear to us that Amsterdam printings of the additional three volumes of this project were published at all. Contemporary half-calf with six raised bands, gilt-stamped floral elements and gilt-stamped labels. Speckled paste paper over boards, with some scuffing. Small but dark ink stain to fore edge of volume one. Very good.