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Item #: OP3757-196
NOUVELLE DECRIPTION DES VALLEES DE GLACE... ET DE HAUTES MONTAGNES DES ALPES PENNINE & RHETIENNES. 2 VOLS. [THE ICE AND HIGH MOUNTAIN VALLEYS THAT FORM THE CHAIN OF THE PENNINE & RHETIENNES ALPS] M. Bourrit 1783 Near Fine
By Bourrit, M.
Price: $995.00

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Complete title:  Nouvelle description des Vallées de Glace et des Hautes Montagnes qui forment la Chaîne des Alpes pennines & Rhetiennes dédiée au Roi de France. Par M. Bourrit, Chantre de l'église Cathédrale de Genève & Pensionnaire du Roi. Volume 1 & 2 reliés ens.  [New description of the Ice Valleys and the High Mountains which form the Chain of the Pennine & Rhetian Alps dedicated to the King of France. By Mr. Bourrit, Chanter of the Geneva Cathedral Church & King's Pensionary. Volume 1 & 2] 

Geneve, 1783, New edition. 247, 285 pp. Bound as one volume with 8 plates. Bound in full calf leather, with a new spine, also of leather, with gold lettering. In French. Condition is very clean, no foxing, no stains, no writing, very minor edge wear, and the mid-20th century spine has tightened the binding so the book feels solid. As Fine a condition as a 235 year old book can be.  

Bourrit’s books on the Alps were highly influential for the explorers who, during his lifetime made the first ascent of Mont Blanc, and several subsequent ascents. By 1808 the ascent of Mont Blanc even became an easy day for a lady.


A rare book of pre-Golden Age observations of Mont Blanc and the Alps. Listed in Meckly MONT BLANC: THE EARLY YEARS: A BIBLIOGRAPHY, item 026, "Bourrit was a prolific author and artist who was employed by De Saussure to illustrate his Voyages Dand Les Alpes. Saussure and Bourrit between them were the first to create a mountaineering interest in Mont Blanc."


From Wkipedia:

Marc-Théodore Bourrit was a good artist and etcher, and also a pastor, so that by reason of his fine voice and love of music he was made (1768) singer of the church of St Peter at Geneva. This post enabled him to devote himself to the exploration of the Alps, for which he had conceived a great passion ever since an ascent (1761) of the Voirons, near Geneva.


In 1775 he made the first ascent of the Buet (3096 m) by the now usual route from the Pierre à Bérard, on which the great flat rock known as the Table au Chantre still preserves his memory. In 1784-1785 he was the first traveller to attempt the ascent of Mont Blanc (conquered in 1786, which Bourrit lived to see), but neither then nor later (1788) did he succeed in reaching its summit. On the other hand, he reopened (1787) the route over the Col du Géant (3371 m), which had fallen into oblivion, and travelled also among the mountains of the Valais, of the Bernese Oberland


Bourrit's writings are composed in a sentimental style, but breathe throughout a most passionate love for the Alps, as wonders of nature, and not as objects of scientific study. His chief works are the Description des glacières de Savoye, 1773, the Description des Alpes pennines et rhétiennes (2 vols., 1781), and the Descriptions des cols ou passages des Alpes, (2 vols., 1803), while his Itinéraire de Genève, Lausanne et Chamouni, first published in 1791, went through several editions in his lifetime.



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