Les chevaux des écuries du Roi.
Folio (425 x 585 mm). 36 hand-coloured lithographic plates in 6 livraisons, each preserving its original printed wrapper. Contemp. black quarter shagreen with decorated flat spine, title stamped in gilt on upper cover with a crowned monogram.
The only complete copy known of this record of the Arab stud of the French King, consisting of 36 superb horse plates drawn from nature and lithographed by the noted equestrian painter Victor Adam (1801-66), finely enhanced with watercolour and gum arabic by the artist himself. The plates were produced in 1843 with the special permission of the Marquis de Strada, stablemaster to the French King, when Louis-Philippe created a stud in the park of Saint-Cloud for the stallions he had received as gifts from the Viceroy of Egypt and other Middle Eastern princes. A contemporary witness to the event, the conte Camille de Montalivet reflected after the fall of the monarchy in his "Le Roi Louis-Philippe et sa liste civile" (1850): "At the end of the year 1842, Mehmet Ali sent to the King seven of his purest stallions, chosen by himself and coming from the most precious Arab race, the Nedjdi species. From the first months of 1843, Louis-Philippe founded an Arab stud in the park of Saint-Cloud, providing one of the most beautiful equestrian centers ever seen. The first tests soon had the best result, and new stallions arrived from Muscat and Morocco".
Muhammad Ali (1769-1849), generally considered the founder of modern Egypt, was Khedive of Egypt from 1804 to his death. A friend of France and an admirer of Napoleon, he had previously offered to King Louis-Philippe (in 1833) the obelisk which graces the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The six livraisons of six plates each comprise: "Chevaux andalous du Roi et des Princes" (1); "Haras arabe fondé par le Roi à St Cloud. Chevaux Nedjdi offerts au Roi des Français par le Vice-Roi d'Egypte" (2, 4, 5); "Chevaux du Maroc offerts par l'Empereur Muley-abd-err-Rhamann à sa Majesté le Roi des Français" (3); and "Chevaux Mascate offerts au Roi des Français par l'Imam" (6). In addition to the printed dedication to the marquis de Strada, our copy bears an autograph gift inscription to the King's stablemaster "par son humble et très obeissant serviteur David". The plates in livraisons 3, 4, and 6 belong to the 100 printed "avant la lettre"; livraison 4 includes 4 pp. of explanatory text.
Jean-Victor-Vincent Adam joined art school at the early age of 13 and soon enjoyed high acclaim as a painter of horses and equestrian historical scenes (cf. Thieme/B. I, 69). "Il fut donc un spécialiste dans ce genre et son nom mérite au premier titre de figurer dans uns bibliographie hippique" (Menessier de la Lance I, 6). After several successful exhibitions, he learned lithography in 1824, producing nearly eight thousand different subjects.
Plates professionally cleaned with some traces of foxing. A unique set; unrecorded in trade or auction, no other copy traced in public collections.