Statistique monumentale de Calvados.
Paris & Caen, Hardel (etc) 1846-67.
8vo. 5 vols. viii + (432)(numbered 1-428 with 49-52 repeated) + (4)pp, 14 folding engraved and lithograph plates, and 5 other plates on 3ff; (4) + 622pp, with (2) additional unnumbered pp between pp 522 and 523; (4) + 808pp, 5 litho plates (1 tinted); 469 + (1)pp, 2 folding litho plates; vi + 847 + (1)pp. Each volume has additionally hundreds of woodcut text ills. Contemporary quarter green morocco, gilt, cloth sides, all edges gilt, a little rubbed at outer corners. A good set from the library of the Liverpool-based architect James O’Byrne (1835-1897), with his engraved armorial bookplate in each volume.
First edition. This very substantial parish-by-parish inventory of the historic buildings in the Calvados region of Normandy, which has as its principal centres of interest the towns of Caen, Bayeux and Lisieux, has the distinction of being the very first inventory of this nature to be carried to completion and publication in any European country. As such it occupies a special place in the literature devoted to the preservation and recording of historic monuments. Its publication was spread over a period of twenty years, but Caumont (1801-1873) had been collecting material for it, and arguing the need for such inventories, since the 1820s.Caumont’s role in the development of the study of archaeology and of the history of architecture in France and further afield was a vital one (see Pevsner, Some Architectural Writers, pp 36-44), and these volumes record the interest that he took in the architecture of mediaeval churches and in Gallo-Roman archaeology, as well as his interest in local history and topography, and demonstrate his ability to provide concise and accurate descriptions of sites and buildings. Sets of these volumes in their original mid-nineteenth century printing are difficult indeed to procure today, and we were very pleased to be able towards the end of 2019 to reacquire this particular copy, last offered by us as item 30 in our Catalogue 1, published in 1987, and the only copy of this title which has ever passed through our hands.