Portrait of the author (in two states) & many photogravure plates (some in color & some double-page). xxiv, 156 pp., one leaf; 2 p.l., v, 161 pp., one leaf. Two vols. Large 4to (300 x 215 mm.), orig. printed wrappers bound in embroidered bindings designed by Marius Michel (detailed description below), t.e.g., others uncut. Paris: H. Launette, 1887-90. [bound with at the end of the second volume]:--. Bibliographie aèronautique. Catalogue de Livres d'Histoire, de Science, de Voyages et de Fantaisie, traitant de la Navigation ou des Aérostats. Decorative head-pieces. 62 pp., one leaf. Large 4to, orig. printed wrappers bound in. Paris: H. Launette, 1887. The author's own set, so stated on the limitation page, assembled in the most luxurious state from the issue limited to 25 copies printed on Japan paper, bound in two highly important embroidered bindings by Marius Michel. This set of the Histoire contains a double suite of all the photogravure plates and text illustrations in different states. The Bibliographie aèronautique is numbered "1" of 25 copies on Japan paper. Chemist, meteorologist, author, and aviator Gaston Tissandier (1843-99), and his brother Albert were the most famous balloonists of their time. They were the first to successfully power an airship using an electric motor. Gaston's history of ballooning was the standard work for many years and his bibliography was the first to be compiled on the subject of aviation. It is hard to imagine a more elaborate and luxurious set of these two works: the author's own copies, printed specially on Japan paper and limited to 25 copies each, with double sets of illustrations in different states, and bound in two superb and important embroidered bindings designed by and executed for Marius Michel. These works were exhibited at the magnificent and ground-breaking exhibition "Livres en Broderie," organized by Sabine Coron and Martine Lefèvre in 1995 at the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal. The bindings are described as follows: original brown morocco, spines in five compartments & lettered in gilt; inset panels on each cover with elaborately embroidered floral scenes with pale green silk backgrounds, framed with alternating shades of brown & silver wire, flowers in various hues ranging from pale blue to dark red, each flower also framed with silver wire; each upper cover with a balloon ascending in the upper right hand corner, the balloon on Vol. I with the legend: "Sic itur ad astra," the balloon on Vol. II with a different design; the lower covers both having the same design but each employing different ranges of colors. The embroidery is very fine and fresh. Doublures with quintuple fillets in gilt and red silk endpapers. Morocco chemises and slipcases. Top edges gilt, others uncut. ❧ BnF, Livres en Broderie. Reliures françaises du Moyen Age à nos Jours, item 124-(with illustration in color). . (Inventory #: HillBibl-5144)
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