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Mrs Edward Bury [née Priscilla Susan Falkner] (artist, fl. 1824-1867).
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Mrs Edward Bury [née Priscilla Susan Falkner] (artist, fl. 1824-1867).

A Selection of Hexandrian Plants, belonging to the Natural Orders Amaryllidae and Liliacae. London: Robert Havell the younger, [plates watermarked 1831-1834]. 9 fascicules bound in one volume (of 10, lacking final fascicule containing frontispiece and letterpress preliminary matter), 2° (635 x 472mm). Engraved title by Havell with cancel slips pasted over inscription 'No 4' and engraved prices. 45 (only, of 51) hand-coloured engraved aquatint and partially colour-printed plates heightened with gum arabic, the plates engraved, printed and coloured by Havell after Bury, plates 17 and 19 with engraved cancel slips pasted over titles. (Some light spotting and offsetting, 2 text leaves with marginal tears, one neatly-repaired, some plates trimmed over platemarks, affecting caption of one and causing very slight loss of image on another.) Contemporary green half roan, gilt, the flat spine gilt in compartments, titled in one and lettered at the foot, marbled edges (extremities a little rubbed and scuffed, joints partially split).

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Mrs Edward Bury [née Priscilla Susan Falkner] (artist, fl. 1824-1867).
A Selection of Hexandrian Plants, belonging to the Natural Orders Amaryllidae and Liliacae. London: Robert Havell the younger, [plates watermarked 1831-1834]. 9 fascicules bound in one volume (of 10, lacking final fascicule containing frontispiece and letterpress preliminary matter), 2° (635 x 472mm). Engraved title by Havell with cancel slips pasted over inscription 'No 4' and engraved prices. 45 (only, of 51) hand-coloured engraved aquatint and partially colour-printed plates heightened with gum arabic, the plates engraved, printed and coloured by Havell after Bury, plates 17 and 19 with engraved cancel slips pasted over titles. (Some light spotting and offsetting, 2 text leaves with marginal tears, one neatly-repaired, some plates trimmed over platemarks, affecting caption of one and causing very slight loss of image on another.) Contemporary green half roan, gilt, the flat spine gilt in compartments, titled in one and lettered at the foot, marbled edges (extremities a little rubbed and scuffed, joints partially split).
A RARE WORK. 'ONE OF THE MOST SPLENDID BOTANICAL WORKS TO BE PUBLISHED IN ENGLAND IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY' (Tomasi). Priscilla Susan Falkner was the daughter of a rich Liverpool merchant whose estate outside the city at Fairfields 'boasted a garden with many rare and exotic plants' (Tomasi). From a young age she was an enthusiastic botanist and flower painter, and by 1829 had produced a number of images which she wished to publish. Encouraged by her distinguished friends, the zoologist William Swainson and the botanist William Roscoe, the publication of the present work under Swainson's name was planned, with plates by the lithographer Charles Joseph Hullmandel. However, in 1830 Falkner married Edward Bury F.R.S. (1794-1858), a wealthy and ingenious railway engineer, and the work was eventually published by Robert Havell the younger.

Havell's skill as an engraver showed Bury's watercolours of hexandrian (i.e. six-stamened) plants to their best advantage, as Tomasi notes: '[he] managed to translate the artist's fine watercolours into aquatints of even more striking beauty', described by Dunthorne as 'finely coloured plates of perfect technique, very decorative and ''modern'' in feeling'. Following the publication of Hexandrian Plants, Priscilla Bury continued to contribute illustrations to botanical works including Maund's The Botanic Garden (London: 1825-1851) and Maund and Henslow's The Botanist (London: 1836-1842).
The list of subscribers totals 79 (including Audubon), and it is unlikely that many more copies were printed, accounting for the book's rarity, which is noted by both Stafleu and Cowan and Pritzel. BM(NH) I, p.292; Brunet I, col.1417 ('Magnifique publication'); Dunthorne p.184; Great Flower Books p.53; Nissen BBI 306; Pritzel 1403 ('Opus splendidissimum'); Stafleu and Cowan 937; Tomasi Oak Spring Flora 86.
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