[l’Ain (France): circa 1870].
Large quarto (32.5 x 25 cm.), eight sheets of text and six of color drawings. There are forty-nine original watercolors and four plain drawings of mushrooms found in the department of Ain. The watercolor drawings are approximately life-size and realistic with fine shades of color as well as precise details on the feet, rings, blades and caps. ~ Unpublished manuscript by Joannes-Erhard Valentin-Smith, a member of the Academy of Sciences, Belles-lettres and Arts of Lyon but also a founding member in 1872 of the Literary, Historical and Archaeological Society of the department of Ain. The present manuscript, which describes mushrooms beginning with the letter A (Agaric) up to the letter C (Yellow Clavary), with two exceptions (Delicious Morel and Half-free Morel), is an unfinished and incomplete preparatory work to a description general of all mushrooms growing in the department of Ain. The disorder of capricious numbering clearly indicates that it is a draft or project. However, Valentin-Smith indicates for each species described and illustrated the precise place where he collected the particular specimen and the time of year when it can be expected to be picked. In 1852, Antoine-Marie-Alexandre Sirand had published in Bourg-en-Bresse the “Edible mushrooms of the Ain”. It was a small work of 33 pages in 8 format, which perhaps inspired Valentin-Smith’s more ambitious but unfinished study. An interesting, unprecedented work of mycology of the Ain and more generally of the Rhone-Alpes region. Most leaves lightly soiled, and with a water stain to the lower right corner. Text and illustrations remain bright and legible. Tan-colored stiff wrapper is worn, and with several large chips, but not effecting the title text on the front panel. Some informal scribbles to rear wrapper panel. Good.