“THE MOST COMPLETE WORK OF ITS KIND… A PRODUCTION OF UNRIVALLED INTEREST AND BEAUTY”: MICHAUX’S LANDMARK NORTH AMERICAN SYLVA WITH NUTTALL’S CONTINUATION, CONTAINING 277 HAND-COLORED PLATES
MICHAUX, François André. The North American Sylva, Or a Description of the Forest Trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia. Three volumes. WITH: NUTTALL, Thomas. The North American Sylva… Not Described in the Work of F. Andrew Michaux. Three volumes. Philadelphia: Robert P. Smith, 1854-55. Six volumes in all. Octavo, original green cloth pictorially stamped in gilt.
Splendid 1854 edition of Michaux’s landmark work and its continuation by Nuttall, an early combined edition of the two works, richly illustrated with a total of 277 splendid hand-colored plates, many by Redouté.
First published in 1810 and translated into English in 1817, Michaux’s Sylva was the result of ten years of research in North America. The 156 hand-colored plates were drawn by the Redouté brothers, Pierre Joseph and Henri Joseph, and Pancrace Bessa, and upon its publication the work was recognized as an authority in the discipline. The continuation of the Sylva was executed by Thomas Nuttall, an experienced American botanist and ornithologist whose Manual of the Ornithology of the United States and Canada (1832) rivaled Audubon and Wilson in terms of strictly scientific contributions. Nuttall’s botanical work, first published from 1842 to 1849, added 121 hand-colored plates to the 156 originally issued in Michaux. “Of the two works united, it is no exaggeration to remark that it is the most complete work of its kind, and is a production of unrivalled beauty, giving descriptions and illustrations of all the forest trees of North America, from the arctic limits of arborescent vegetation to the confines of the tropical circle” (Sabin). Plates in Volume I of Nuttall are complete, but the numbering omits 30 and 31, and instead includes additional plates at numbers 5 and 10 (60 total plates in Volume I, as issued). See Nissen 1361, 1458; Sabin 48695, 56351.
Plates clean and bright. Scattered foxing to texts. Only light rubbing to some extremities of original cloth. An especially attractive set in near-fine condition.