Spectacular South African flora.
Roupell (1817-1914) was married to an East India Company official In 1843, her husband was posted to the Cape for a period of service leave and she accompanied him.
During her two-year stay in South Africa Roupell whiled away her leisure hours by painting the local flowers that happened to catch her eye. A visitor to the Cape, Nathaniel Wallich, who was at that time in charge of the Calcutta Botanical Garden, and happened to be a guest at the same Cape Town hotel as the Roupells, was struck by the quality of her work.
The Roupells returned to Madras in 1845 where Arabella continued her botanical painting. When Wallich retired to London from Calcutta in 1846, he persuaded her to allow him to take along some of her paintings to show to Sir William Jackson Hooker. Hooker was delighted with her work and with Arabella’s botanist brother-in-law, George Roupell, chose ten of the plates for publication. Having received the blessing of both Hooker and Wallich, the plates were handed to the eminent Victorian lithographer, Paul Gauci, who prepared the illustrations for the printer W. Nicol of the Shakespeare Press on Pall Mall. The descriptive text accompanying the plates was provided by William Henry Harvey, the Irish botanist. One hundred subscribers were listed, a large portion being from the Peerage, and not counting Victoria, Prince Albert and the Directors of the East India Company. The book was well received not only in England, but also on the Continent, where the author was elected a member of the Regensburg Society of Arts. The work is dedicated to Wallich in recognition of his ‘flattering encouragement and scientific guidance’ with ‘every feeling of grateful and affectionate esteem’. It is thought that only 110 copies of the atlas folio were printed, making the work rare, expensive and highly desirable to collectors.
First edition. Large folio (59 x 46 cm), subscription list, pictorial lithographed title, 8 lithographed plates and large floral tailpiece, all hand-coloured and heightened with gum arabic, modern green half morocco gilt preserving original green morocco label, a fine copy.
Nissen BBI 1687; Great Flower Books page 74; Stafleu TL 29684
Stock ID: 94783