One of finest works on camellias, here in its most desirable state.
Described by Wilfred Blunt as “handsome and rare”, with magnificent plates after the drawings of Alfred Chandler “beautifully coloured with opaque pigments” (Dunthorne), the work was available in three issues: uncoloured, coloured, or -as in this example- coloured and highly finished with gum arabic. Chandler’s drawings were mostly based on examples of camellia grown by at the nursery at Vauxhall run by his father.
The Camellia was first introduced into Europe by Lord Petre in 1739, and the work includes Japanese, Chinese and English-bred varieties. Beautiful evergreen shrubs, sometimes growing into small trees, they are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. The best known species, albeit not necessarily known consciously, is the Camellia sinensis, the tea plant, of major commercial importance because tea is made from its leaves. While the finest teas are produced by C. sinensis thanks to millennia of selective breeding of this species, many other camellias can be used to produce a similar beverage. For example, in some parts of Japan, tea made from C. sasanqua leaves is popular.
Intended to be a two-volume work, the second volume was never published.
Volume 1 (all published) folio (38 x 28 cm.).With 40 hand-coloured plates (36 engraved, 4 lithographed) by S. Watts and Weddell after Chandler, heightened in gum arabic; fine contemporary green half morocco gilt, covers with L-shaped corners with multiple gilt fillets, flat spine with gilt geometric designs and floral tooling, marbled sides and edges, plates clean and fresh, a most attractive example.
Nissen BBI 209; Dunthorne 77; Great Flower Books, page 51; Stafleu TL2 651
Stock ID: 90337