“A DELIGHTFUL WORK VERY CAREFULLY DRAWN AND COLORED… AN EARLY EXAMPLE OF THE SUCCESSFUL USE OF LITHOGRAPHY”: BEAUTIFULLY BOUND SUBSCRIBER'S COPY OF 40 WONDERFUL HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHS OF FLOWERS
ANONYMOUS. Ten [i.e. Forty] Lithographic Coloured Flowers with Botanical Descriptions. Drawn and Coloured by a Lady. Edinburgh: David Brown (R.H. Nimmo, lithographer), 1826-. Four parts in one. Folio, early 20th-century full dark blue straight-grain morocco, raised bands, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and covers, watered silk doublures, all edges gilt. Housed in custom cloth slipcase. $8000.
First edition of this splendid celebration of flora, boasting 40 magnificent, hand-colored botanical plates—"a delightful work, very carefully drawn and colored… An early example of the successful use of lithography," a beautiful copy from the library at Hawthornden, the ancestral home of an original subscriber as well as celebrated Scots poet William Drummond. Beautifully bound by Bayntun-Riviere in full straight-grain morocco gilt.
This collection of brilliant, detailed botanical plates instructs British gardeners in the history, cultivation and chief virtues of 40 varieties of flora, from the Two-Colored Begonia ("This magnificent Plant… when grown to perfection, is a most ornamental one") to the Common Jasmine ("There is an elegance in the Jasmine, which added to its fragrance, renders it an object of universal admiration"). The splendid lithographs, accompanied by often enjoyably effusive commentary, also depict such flowers as the Splendid Sage, the Side-Saddle Flower, the Middlemists Red Carnillia ("the greatest ornament of the Green-House"), the Large-flowered Trumpet Flower ("magnificent, elegant and highly ornamental… worthy of a place in every Conservatory"), the Mexican Tiger Flower ("Nothing can be more superb"), the Three-Colored Crane's Bill and the American Crinum. This work, executed by an unknown artist but "delightful… [and] very carefully drawn and colored… an early example of the successful use of lithography" (Dunthorne 19), appeared in four parts of ten plates each over a period of two years, sold by subscription. This copy bears the title page for the first issue, dated 1826, containing the first ten plates. "The work was evidently extended after the title page was printed. On the left-hand page, facing each plate is a description of the flower shown; both Latin and English names are given, also class and order, and a brief written description of country of origin" (Dunthorne 19). Four lists of plates printed on labels are tipped in at the front and the list of subscribers is bound at the rear. Copies have been found with paper watermarked "1828." Twyman, Early Lithography I, 131. Not in Nissen, Plesch or De Belder. Contemporary mark of ownership, "Hawthornden, 1829," being the ancestral home of famous Scots poet William Drummond, as well as that of original subscriber to this collection of prints, Mrs. F. Drummond. The 19th-century generation of Drummonds included James and Thomas, both botanists and plant collectors.
A fine copy, beautifully bound, with a notable provenance traced back to an original subscriber.