HOOKER, Sir William Jackson, & John Charles Lyons.

A Century of Orchidaceous Plants selected from Curtis's Botanical Magazine.

£6,500

A Century of Orchidaceous Plants selected from Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.
Consisting of those most worthy of cultivation, systematically arranged, and illustrated with coloured figures and dissections chiefly executed by Mr. Fitch. Accompanied by an introduction on the culture and general management of orchidaceous plants, and with copious remarks on the treatment of each species.
London: Reeve, Benham, and Reeve, 1849

In stock

Description

First edition, from the Knowsley library of the Earl of Derby, with his armorial bookplate and inscribed on the verso of the front free endpaper: “Back Library, Knowsley, West Bookcase B / Shelf 2 No. 450”; also inscribed at the head of the half-title “from Boone April 15th 1849” (just shaved by the binder) – which is almost certainly a reference to the London bookseller/publisher T. & W. Boone. Edward Smith Stanley, thirteenth earl of Derby (1775–1851), politician and naturalist, became “one of the figureheads of the science of zoological classification, particularly the taxonomy of birds. He was president of the Linnean Society of London from 1828 to 1834, and president of the Zoological Society of London for twenty years from 1831 until his death. He not only encouraged the reading of accounts of new species by chairing meetings of the two societies, but contributed many scientific papers himself to the proceedings of the Zoological Society and donated many specimens to its collections… The Knowsley Museum is estimated to have included 20,000 mammals, birds, and lower vertebrates; some invertebrates, such as specimens of molluscs, are known to have been donated to the British Museum before Derby’s death” (ODNB).

The illustrations here are by Walter Hood Fitch (1817-1892), described by Hooker’s son, Sir Joseph Hooker, as an “incomparable botanical artist” (cited in Wilfrid Blunt, The Art of Botanical Illustration, 1950, p. 224). “Fitch remains the most outstanding botanical artist of his day in Europe. He was the first draughtsman to produce really satisfactory drawings from dried herbarium specimens, and for this alone botanists in England would remain forever in his debt. He was always his own lithographer, and became a skilled exponent of the art” (ibid.). The plates are bright and fresh in this copy, which has a very appealing provenance.

Description

4to (30 x 23.3 cm). Contemporary russet-coloured pebble-grain morocco sometime neatly rebacked with the original richly gilt spine laid down, two-line gilt border on sides, all edges gilt, gilt roll tool turn-ins, marbled endpapers. 100 fine hand-coloured lithograph plates (with tissue guards) by Walter Hood Fitch.Light abrasions to front cover. An excellent copy.

Bibliography

Nissen 918 (erroneously dating the first edition to 1846); not in Plesch or Pritzel.

 

Stock ID: 95934