LE JARDINIER SOLITAIRE, Ou Dialogues Entre un Curieux & un Jardinier Solitaire. Contenant la methode de faire & de cultiver un Jardin Fruitier & Potager; & plusieurs experiences nouvelles... Augmentée de plusieurs Chapitres, dont il est fait à la fin de la Preface, & d'un Catalogue des plus excellens Fruits, les plus rares & les plus estimés, qui se cultivent dans les Pepinières des RR. PP. Chartreux à Paris.
This Brussels edition of what was the most popular pomological manual of the early 18th century is of particular interest because it includes, as an appendix, a reprint of the catalogue of fruit trees available from the nurseries of the Carthusian monks of Paris. During the 18th century the Pères Chartreux operated what was easily the largest nursery in Europe and supplied orchards across the continent with the best proven varieties of fruit. François Gentil, the anonymous author of LE JARDINIER SOLITAIRE, was a Carthusian lay brother who ran the nurseries for 30 years. His book was first published by Rigaud in 1704 and went through numerous French editions in addition to popular translations into English and German. The present edition appears to be based on the significantly enlarged fourth edition, which first appeared in Paris in 1712. However, none of the numerous editions published in Paris includes the nursery catalogue which is present here. The Chartreux in Paris are known to have issued at least five such catalogues before their dissolution during the French Revolution. The earliest of these that we can trace is dated 1736, and it is probably the text from this catalogue which has been reproduced here. (Fricx published an earlier edition of LE JARDINIER SOLITAIRE in 1737 which also includes a Chartreux catalogue. The present edition is in all likelihood a reprint of that text). These catalogues, all of which are rare, represent important documentation on the available fruit varieties in Europe during the 18th century. They also included notes on the characteristics and seasons for each fruit, and would have been an extremely useful reference for the fruit growers of the period. It is thus understandable that Fricx would have recognized the value of using the text from the 1736 catalogue - the most reliable description of fruit varieties of its day - as an addition to his own reprint of Gentil. We can locate no other editions of Gentil, besides the two Brussels editions of 1737 and 1749, which include a Chartreux catalogue. Plesch pg. 235 (1773 ed.).
Contemporary full leather gilt panelled spine, with raised bands, gilt lettered morocco title piece; spine and corners skillfully restored; front inner hinge has old masking tape repair, rear inner hinge has residue from removal of tape; half-title lacking.
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