“ALL THAT IS GRACEFUL AND FASCINATING”: MOORE’S RICHLY ILLUSTRATED NATURE-PRINTED BRITISH FERNS, 1859, WITH 122 SPLENDID COLOR PLATES BY ARTIST HENRY BRADBURY
(BRADBURY, Henry) MOORE, Thomas. Nature-Printed British Ferns. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1859-60. Two volumes. Octavo, modern three-quarter blind stamped green morocco, raised bands, contemporary marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $1200.
First octavo edition of Moore’s authoritative two-volume work, profusely illustrated with 122 brilliantly colored plates of ferns produced by Bradbury’s innovative nature-printing process.
This first octavo edition of Nature-Printed British Ferns offers 122 beautiful plates of brightly colored ferns in images elegantly displayed on the page. This impressive work brings together the pioneering artistry of Henry Bradbury and the informative text of Thomas Moore, who, as “a gardener and writer on horticulture, became curator of the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1848… His patron and friend was the great botanist and horticulturalist John Lindley… the first Professor of Botany in the University of London” (Sherwood et al., New Flowering, 158). Moore’s scientific and often poetic prose is matched by the innovations of Bradbury, who largely introduced nature printing into England, having learned the difficult and expensive process “at the Imperial Printing Office at Vienna” (“Henry Bradbury’s Printed Books”). In nature printing a fern is passed, “under pressure, between a plate of soft lead and hard steel. The lead impression is then used to obtain a printing plate. This technique gives a much more detailed… image of a plant than can be achieved by most artists” (Sherwood, 158). The authority of the text, the rich detail of the plates and nearly prohibitive cost of the technique makes Nature-Printed Ferns a much valued work. Preceded by the 1855 folio edition. With vignette title pages. Nissen 1401. See Nissen, 134, 154. Bookplates. Bookseller ticket (Vol. II).
Text and plates generally fresh with light scattered foxing. A near-fine copy.