Eugene Arnoult, Hardcover (Quarter Leather), Book Condition: Very Good Condition, Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket, First Edition
EUGENE ARNOULT [editor]. L'Institut, Journal General des Societes et Travaux scientifiques ..., 52 weekly issues, Nos. 262-313, Paris: 1839. Quarto, pp. 479, bound in marbled paper boards, quarter leather. These issues include the first reports of the spectacular developments in photography's miracle year of 1839, when Louis Daguerre's achievements in image-making were revealed to the world. Arnoult, founder, owner and editor of the journal, was probably in attendance at the Royal Science Academy meetings during the academy's discussions of Daguerre's work, although all articles in his journal are unsigned. The first article appeared on Jan. 10, reporting Academy Secretary Francois Arago's public revelation of Daguerre's discovery at an academy meeting three days earlier. This was screaming-headline news, presented in a few dry paragraphs before Arnoult moved on to the next item of academy business. "It is not necessary to insist on the many advantages of such a discovery," the journal said. This understated style was in keeping with Arnoult's efforts, outlined in the journal's 1833 prospectus, to remain detached from the news it was reporting. He referred to the day that electrified Paris -- the so-called Arago Event of Aug. 19, in which more than 500 people jammed the academy chambers while at least as many waited outside -- as an "unaccustomed" occurrence. His report appeared Aug. 22, well in advance of the academy's own Comptes rendus. He noted that Daguerre showed up with some of his images but was unable to speak because of a sore throat, so Arago made the presentation. Summarizing Arago's speech, Arnoult here gives a history of the chain of progress that began with Niepce's work years earlier and culminated with the first daguerreotypes. Other articles here that will interest photography historians: -- A Jan. 17 discussion of silver chloride as the light-sensitive agent on the photographic plate. -- A Feb. 14 discussion of the difference between Daguerre's images and the "sun pictures" of William Henry Fox Talbot. Talbot's letter to the Academy appears in the journal of Feb. 28. -- July 25 publication of the pension awarded to Daguerre and Isidore Niepce in exchange for public rights to the daguerreian process. Also in this issue, the role of Wedgwood and Humphry-Davy. -- Nov. 14 report on Hippolyte Bayard's paper process using silver nitrate. In all, the index lists 26 articles on photography, making this book a landmark photographic incunable. The photographic literature has failed to take note of Arnoult and his journal, and the only serious student to recognize it is the dealer-collector Stephan Loewentheil, who donated his copy to Cornell as part of the Loewentheil History of Photography Collection. A few other copies are hidden inside multi-decade runs of Arnoult's journal stored at institutions in Europe and the U.S. At this writing, my copy is apparently the only one available in the marketplace. Provenance: Rubberstamps identify this book as from the library of Jean-Louis Armand de Quatrefages de Breau, a professor of natural history and anthropology, sold by his wife two months after his death in 1892. (Each issue also is marked by Timbre Royal Seine tax stamps.) Condition of this book: Very good with a few spots of discoloring and foxing inside. The boards are rubbed at the edges, very good and sound. Five leaves are not properly trimmed at their corners. Size: Quarto. Text is in French. Text body is clean, and free from previous owner annotation, underlining and highlighting. Binding is tight, covers and spine fully intact. All edges clean, neat and free of foxing. Quantity Available: 1. Shipped Weight: 1-2 kilos. Category: Photography; France; 19th century; French Language; Antiquarian & Rare. Pictures of this item not already displayed here available upon request. Inventory No: 53827.