Fruits and Fruit Trees of America
Fruits and Fruit Trees of America

ANDREW JACKSON DOWNING, 1847

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Fruits and Fruit Trees of America
Andrew Jackson Downing, 1847
DOWNING, Andrew Jackson (1815-1852). Fruits and Fruit Trees of America. New York and London: Wiley and Putnam, 1847.

First color-illustrated edition, complete with 70 exquisite plates, of "a masterly resume of the results of American experience in the history, character, and growth of fruit" (Oak Spring Pomona). Downing came from a long line of nurserymen and horticulturalists, and the advertisement at the end of the 1845 first edition describes his ambitions for this work: "this will be the most complete work on the subject ever published, and will, it is hoped, supply a desideratum long felt by amateurs and cultivators." While the 12mo first edition had only silhouette line drawings, "there must have been some second thoughts, or perhaps a demand from publisher or readers, for coloured plates were soon added … the large octavo was illustrated with finely coloured plates, executed in Paris from drawings made in this country from original fruits" (ibid.). While many extant copies have only 69 plates, this copy has all 70 chromolithographs. "One of the most attractive items of its type" (Bennett). See Oak Spring, Pomona 60 and Bennett, p. 35 (1850 octavo edition).

Octavo (237 x 147mm). 70 chromolithographs possibly by Lemercier, finished by hand; wood engravings in the text (two plates lightly soiled, toning affecting a few plates; some spotting to text, especially in the middle). Later red half morocco over red cloth (worn at extremities). Provenance: a few pencil annotations – McKnight Family (signature on flyleaf and armorial bookplate) – ink signature dated 1939.

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