CURTIS, William (1746-1799) and others. The Botanical Magazine; or Flower Garden Displayed. London: 1790-1788-1815. Volumes I - XLI, together with later indexes and a 20th-century run of the periodical. 8° (230 x 143mm). Aproximately 2,500 hand-coloured engraved plates, many folding (occasional variable very light spotting, offsetting and browning). First 41 vols. bound in contemporary calf, flat spines ruled in gilt, leather spines labels (rebacked, preserving original spines, worn and cracked but sound), the 20th-century run bound in modern black half morocco.
AN IMPRESSIVE RUN OF ONE OF THE OLDEST SCIENTIFIC PERIODICALS OF ITS KIND. 'THE Botanical Magazine became a primary source for the study of the history of gardening tastes and methods, and of plant introductions. This, combined with the work of some of the greatest botanical artists, means "the reputation of the magazine has always resided in the accuracy of its portrayal of plants... this pictorial record of garden and greenhouse plants from the temperate and tropical regions of the world has no rival...' (Desmond, p.7). The work was immediately successful, (its publication continuing almost without interruption until 1983), endorsing Curtis's theory that his clients, who refused to buy folio pictures of unassuming plants, would subscribe to an octavo work which pictured showy plants that filled their gardens. Curtis edited the work until his death in 1799 (vols. 1-13) and the editorship of the subsequent volumes in this set was continued in turn by John Sims (1749-1831), William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865) and Joseph Dalton Hooker (1817-1911). The main artists represented during the first period of editorship, with an emphasis on European and Eastern North American plants, were William Kilburn, James Sowerby and Sydenham Edwards. Hunt 689; Nissen BBI 2350; Stafleu & Cowan 1290; Blunt (1994),pp.211-217; Great Flower Books (1990), pp.156-7. See also R. Desmond A celebration of flowers: two hundred years of Curtis's Botanical Magazine [London]: Royal Botanic Gardens, 1987. Sold as a periodical, not subject to return.