BRADBURY, Henry (1831-1860). A Few Leaves from the Newly-Invented Process of "Nature-Printing". London: Bradbury & Evans, 1854.
2° (580 x 390mm). 21 nature-printed plates, printed in colours by Bradbury and Evans under the direction of Henry Bradbury. (Light marginal dampstain to one corner, a small number of very short marginal tears, very light dust-soiling to edges, one plate with a very light crease, variable light spotting.) Original printed portfolio wrapper (light soiling, extremities lightly chipped and frayed, worse at tail of spine, top edge more heavily crumpled, light diagonal crease to bottom right-hand corner).
POSSIBLY UNIQUE COPY OF BRADBURY'S FIRST NATURE-PRINTED PUBLICATION. Considered by Bradbury as an advertisement, 33 plates were printed which were sold either in sets of 21 or individually. 'The fact that the plates were available separately suggests that they were envisaged as curiosities. It is an interesting book, however, and as things turned out the ONLY ONE IN WHICH FLOWERING PLANTS WERE REPRODUCED. It is also the only example in which the plate marks can be seen, all the other books having been printed with plates larger than the size of the resulting book' (Wakeman, 1966). Although Fischer must have known of a copy of the present work (his no. 87 has the same title and calls for 21 plates), NO OTHER COPIES WITH THIS TITLE CAN BE TRACED. 7 variant copies (British Library, Bodleian, Cambridge, Royal Institution, Ottawa, Library of Congress and New York Public Library) substitute 'represented by' for 'from the newly-invented process of' in the title, which is printed wholly in upper case, and omit 'By Royal Letters Patent' from the wrapper headline and the word 'Patentees' in the imprint; all supposedly call for 33 plates. Bradbury only created three more nature-printed works. Alois Auer, Director of the Imperial Printing Office, Vienna, under whom Bradbury had been apprenticed, had patented a nature-printing process in October 1852. Auer accused Bradbury of plagiarism and called him a liar and a dishonest drunk in print. It is not known how much this dispute affected Bradbury, but he committed suicide at the age of 29 by drinking soda water with prussic acid. E. Fischer 'Zweihundert Jahre Naturselbstdruck', in: Gutenberg Jahrbuch VIII, pp. 186-213, no. 87; G. Wakeman 'Henry Bradbury's Nature Printed Works', in: The Library, XXI, pp. 63-67; R. Cave and G. Wakeman. Typographia naturalis, 1967.