SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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LUSSER, Karl Franz.
KÄLIN, Josef Meinrad and Jakob Suter, [ Illustrators].
Funfzehn Ansichten der Neuen St.Gotthards-Strasse vom St.Gotthard-Hospitz bis Lugarno.

Zürich: for Heinrich Füssli, 1833.
OCLC locates just six copies of our very rare work, five in Swiss libraries and one in Germany; none of these is described as coloured. ABPC lists two copies at auction since 1975, one the earlier 1830 version (with 11 of 12 plates), and one of our 1833 expanded edition (auctioned in 1976), but neither of these was coloured.
Zürich: for Heinrich Füssli, 1833.

4to. 238 x 305 mm. (9 3/8" x 12"). 2 p.l., 72 pp. Original green paper wrappers. In a very good recent buckram folding case with title in gilt on a black morocco label on upper board.15 superb, hand coloured aquatint Swiss views by Josef Meinrad Kälin and Jakob Suter. Paper wrapper chipped at head and tail of spine, intermittent faint freckled foxing to text, otherwise a fine copy of a fragile item, with clean, fresh text and bright, richly coloured plates. With the original tissue guards. An excessively RARE coloured copy of a work almost never found in any form. Beautifully illustrated account of the newly completed road through the St. Gotthard Pass (or, in Italian, Passo del San Gottardo), featuring Kälin's handsome views of the canton of Ticino. The book begins with 35 pages of text dealing with the climate, vegetation, minerals, population, history, and constitution of Ticino, the southernmost canton in Switzerland, and the only one where Italian is the sole official language. Following this are the 15 exquisite views, each accompanied by explanatory text, that show us the beginning and ending of the newly constructed route, as well as the scenic high points along the way. The book was first issued in 1830 with 12 views, then a second was issued containing three views in 1833, when the entire set was republished in the present form. Our visual journey begins at the peaceful lakeside Hospice of St. Gotthard (now a museum), and continues through the most famous mountain pass in Switzerland towards Lugano. The scenes depict tranquil views of the countryside, often including small villages - all emphasizing the pastoral beauty and quaint towns rather than the heart-stopping drops into the Schöllenen Gorge. (Perhaps the publisher hoped to attract more visitors to the region and thus chose to downplay the dizzying heights in favour of lovely tourist-friendly towns and lakes.) There are two views of bridges over the turbulent river Reuss, both appearing quite solid and trustworthy, and one being crossed by a carriage, something that was not possible until improvements were made to the road in 1775. The colouring is careful, unusually--almost intensely--opaque, and especially pleasing. Our Swiss artist Meinrad Kälin (1790-1834) started his career painting miniature portraits, later graduating to landscapes. This work was the crowning achievement of his career. Jakob Suter (1805-74) studied with landscape painter J. J. Wetzel and specialized in engravings and watercolous of landscapes in his native land. Author Karl Franz Lusser (1790-1859) was a doctor and magistrate in Altdorf whose avocation was the study of the natural history of the region. Coloured plates in order: 1. Hospice du St. Gotthard. 2. Pont Tremola. Route du St. Gotthard. 3. Route de Val Tremola vers Airolo, Stalvedro, Piotta & Ambri. Route du St. Gotthard. 4. Airolo. Route du St. Gotthard. 5. Passage de Stalvedro. Route du St. Gotthard. 6. Dazio grande. Route du St. Gotthard. 7. Defile de Dazio grande. Route du St. Gotthard. 8. Pont inferieur de Dazio grande. Route du St. Gotthard. 9. Faido. Route du St. Gotthard. 10. Giornico, Val Leventina. Canton Tocino. 11. Bodio. Valee Levantine, roite du St. Gotthard. 12. Cresciano et Claro. Val Leventina, route du St. Gotthard. 13. Bellinzona. 14. Lugano. Vers le mont Salvador. 15. Madonna del Sasso a Locarno. Lago Maggiore.