Histoire des champignons de la France (1780-1791)

This is the first book where the engraving itself was colored before printing.
Plate 72 Lycoperdon hyemale [copperplate engraving]

Bulliard, Pierre, 1752-1793.
Histoire des champignons de la France; ou, Traité élémentaire renfermant dans un ordre méthodique les descriptions et les figures des champignons qui croissent naturellement en France

[Paris, l'auteur, 1791.]

Image Courtesy of the Farlow Library of Cryptogamic Botany


Jean Baptiste Francois Bulliard, (1752-1793) [Pierre Bulliard] was born Aubepierre, France on 24 November 1752. He studied medicine in Langres, and in hospices in Clairvaux and Paris, where he set up his own practice. Bulliard began his botanical studies at the Abbey of Clairvaux and was a pupil of Jean Jacques Rousseau. He became one of the foremost French botanists of the eighteenth century.


In his Herbier de la France, one of the earliest examples of true color printing, Bulliard drew, engraved, mixed the inks, and color-printed more than 600 plates of flowers and fungi growing in France. Bulliard line-etched the oulines, veins, and linear shading in black for each plate. He then superimposed three tint plates, each engraved with the individual tones necessary to print separately the green, red and yellow of each image. His accuracy in lining up the plates and the delicacy and accuracy of his color printing, make this an outstanding example of eighteenth century botanical illustration.