GAITTE, Antoine Joseph. Recueil des plus belles Maisons et des plus belles Edifices de la Ville de Paris. 24 numbered leaves with 136 engraved oval or circular views, the whole surrounded by an engraved neoclassical frame. Oblong folio, 401 x 280 mm., contemporary half green vellum over paste paper boards. Paris: N.p., [ca. 1810].
The only edition of this interesting suite of twenty-four plates, illustrating 136 views of public buildings, squares, and gates in Paris. The most important component of this suite is the series of 45 engraved views of the barrières, or toll-gates, which once surrounded the city of Paris.
These barrières were designed by Claude Nicolas Ledoux, the visionary French architect, and built from 1785 to 1789 according to an act passed by the Fermiers-Généraux. At each entry to the city, Ledoux planned one or sometimes two dignified pavilions which were simultaneously Neoclassical in form and Romantic in spirit.
Of the 45 barrières that were constructed, only four were spared from destruction: Les barrières du Trône (Vincennes), d'Enfer (Orléans), de Saint-Martin (La Villette), and la Poste d'observation de Monceau (Courcelles). All 45 barrières are illustrated in the present volume. Gaitte's Vues de Paris is one of the very few contemporary works to record these Ledoux masterpieces. In Levallet-Haug's list of nine essential documents on the subject, Gaitte's Vues is apparently the only one published: the others comprise original drawings by Ledoux, Misbach, and Plaiseau, all now in permanent collections in France. Note that the ninth and final item in Levallet-Haug's short list is the album of Gouviot's photographs (ca. 1860), of which only twelve barrières were documented.
PROVENANCE: small ink stamp and bookplate of library of Abbey Val-Dieu to front endpapers.
Not in Vinet, Brunet, Brivois, Berlin Katalog, Millard, Bestermann, Fowler, Graesse, Vicaire, Rothschild, or Hind. Unknown to Lacomb (Bibliographie Parisienne) and Tourneaux (Bibliographie de Paris). OCLC lists Columbia, Princeton, 3 in Paris and 1 in Geneva.
Thieme-Becker XIII, 83 (recording this suite of twenty-four plates). Literature: Levallet-Haug, Ledoux 1736-1806 (Paris, 1934) pp. 124-36 (Gaitte's plate 8 is reproduced in its entirety on LIII). Raval, Ledoux: Architecte du Roi (Paris, 1945), pp. 65-7 and figs. 258-329 (interestingly, Gaitte's Vues de Paris remained unknown to him).
Item nr. 171217