Important and unusual gathering of richly illustrated works on lilies covering nearly a century of lily production.
The collection comprises: 1) Les Lys, 2) Lilies of Japan; 3) and 4) [Nursery catalogues]; 5 ) A Collection of 74 Life-sized Japanese Woodblock Prints of Lilies; 6)Flower Plates – Japanese Nursery Catalogue for the season 1896-97; 7) Lilies of Japan; 8) Japan Lily Flowers; 9) Catalogue bulbs, plants and seeds, 1907.
Of particular note is a rare catalogue of 74 Japanese woodblock prints assembled by the Parisian seed & bulb merchants and plant breeders Vilmorin-Andrieux & Cie for internal use in c.1890 to show examples of bulbs imported from Japan (no 4). The prints themselves are beautifully hand-coloured, partly by hand and partly by stencils. Nearly all are true lilies ( genus Lilium) but a few are other flowers in the lily family ( genus Cardiocrinmum and Fritillaria). They may have been produced at various dates, but are likely to have been assembled around 1890 by the head of the firm , Henry de Vilmorin (1843-1899), his brother Maurice (1849-1918) or his son Philippe de Vilmorin (1872-1917), whose bookplate appears on the front pastedown. The firm was originally established in 1775 and concentrated on agricultural plants in the mid-nineteenth century but by 1890 they were introducing Japanese plants to Europe and concentrating more on flowers.
Also included in the collection is a rare English Language Japanese nursery catalogue offered by Richachiro Tanoi, active in Yokohama from 1898, who appears to have taken over L. Boehmer and Co. another well known Yokohama breeder.
A collection of nine works; eight are housed in black buckram solander box .
1) 12mo, (12.7 x 8.2 cm),pp [i]-[iii], iv-viii, 1-138, [139-159]. Dedication leaf with engraved calligraphic title and engraved illustration coloured by hand; a second dedication leaf (i), editor’s advertisement (iii-iv), uncoloured engraved calendar plates, one for each month of the year and a calendar for the year 1818 (139-159); 12 hand-coloured engraved plates; moiré light blue silk slipcase and cover, richly gilt. slightly worn in parts.
2) One folio album (39 x 27.5 cm), 35 colour printed woodblock prints on handmade paper, each numbered and captioned at top and outlined in ink.
3) One oblong folio (27 x 39 cm) , with a letterpress title-page and table of contents, and 12 large colour plates. Printed on western-style wove paper. Stab sewn with green threads in the original publisher’s colour-printed gray paper wrappers (with the flower petals printed in silver). With it is the accompanying “Special Offer [.] Japanese Liliums” price list, from the Nursery’s London office, typed in blue and red on Japanese paper with colour-printed lilies at the foot
4) Folio (40 x 30 cm), 14 collotype plates from photographs, captioned, tissues, bound in printed pictorial wrappers with silk ties, printed label.
5) Folio (46.5 x 33 cm); with 74 coloured woodblocks prints mounted in late nineteenth-century album and one hand-lettered Japanese cover loosely inserted, suggesting that some of the prints were made by Seizan Toko and distributed under the title “Yuri Mosha” (Copies of Lilies) by the flower society “Kyusai Yogetsu Kai” (Yogetsu Relief Society?). With the bookplate of Philippe de Vilmorin (1872 – 1917). Rebacked preserving some of the contemporary half calf.
6) 4to (27 x 19 cm), [i] (3) – 25, 32 plates; with one original hand-coloured gouache of day-lily, (slightly browned) 32 numbered lily species (I-XXXII) on 30 chromolithographed plates. Original publisher’s chromolithographed wrappers (with Lilies, Irises and Japanese maple leaves), repaired with tape, with the publisher’s letterpress advertisements pasted down to the inside front and back wrapper, (back wrapper torn at edge)
7) 4to (27 x 19 cm); 42 plates, 42 numbered lily species (I – XXXXII) on 42 chromolithographed plates, original chromolithographed wrappers.
8) 4to (27 x 19 cm); contents page and 37 plates , 42 numbered lily species (I – XXXVII) on 37 chromolithographed plates, chromololithographed front wrapper.
9) 4to (27 x 19 cm); (1) – 46, original chromolithographed front wrappers, sewn with white silk, with six lilies on the front and 3 chromolithographed plates of peonies, irises and Japanese maple leaves, 12 monochrome line illustrations in the text, spine slightly tattered.
Stock ID: 90149