WITH 48 SPECTACULAR HAND-COLORED PLATES: MRS. LOUDON’S ORNAMENTAL ANNUALS
LOUDON, Jane Wells. Ladies' Flower Garden of Ornamental Annuals. London: William Smith, 1840. Quarto, contemporary three-quarter green morocco gilt, marbled boards, endpapers and edges. $5500.
First edition of Loudon's "much prized" first flower book, with 48 superb full-page hand-colored lithographs by Day and Haghe, one of the most prominent lithographic firms of mid-19th-century England and lithographers to the Queen.
Jane Wells Loudon (née Webb), began a literary career with a strange, wild, futuristic novel entitled The Mummy (1827), followed by Stories of a Bride (1829) and Conversations on Chronology (1830). When renowned landscape gardener and horticultural writer John Claudius Loudon read The Mummy, "he was intrigued by it, particularly its mention of the use of steam ploughs" (Parks & Gardens UK), and he wanted to meet its anonymous author. Months later the two were married. After her marriage, Jane changed directions to became one of the major designers of garden landscapes in the 19th century and prominent compiler of popular flower books. Her artistic groupings of like flowers, considered unusual for the times, were immediately accepted among gardeners throughout England. This work, together with her British Wild Flowers (1846) were "much prized for their attractive illustrations" (Magnificent Botanical Books, 237). The splendid flower plates in her books were produced by the famous lithographic press of William Day & Son, frequently referred to as "Day and Haghe," because of the exceptional work of Belgian draughtsman and watercolorist Louis Haghe. Plates 33 and 36 bound out of order, but all present. Sitwell, 115. Nissen 1234.
Scattered foxing to a few plates; original hand-coloring fine and bright. A bit of light wear and color restoration to contemporary binding. A desirable copy of this lovely volume.