8 December 2015
FITZGERALD, Robert Desmond (1830-1892). Australian Orchids. Sydney: Thomas Richards, -1882-.
12 original parts, 2° (503 x 340 mm). Title, dedication to Charles Darwin, synopses and preface, half-titles to parts 1-7, 118 lithographic plates (many hand-colored and on thick tinted paper, 10 double-page) all by A. J. Stopps or Fitzgerald after Fitzgerald. (Some plates and text becoming loose, some with short marginal tears, some spotting.) Original wrappers (some with marginal tears and staining); modern folding case.
FIRST EDITION of one of the earliest studies of Australian orchids. "complete copies of this book are now very rare" (Stafleu). Fitzgerald was a deputy surveyor-general in New South Wales, and a botanical artist, who came to Sydney from Ireland in 1856. His drawings and studies came to the attention of the government of New South Wales, who undertook publication of the work at the Government Printer's. The lithographer Arthur J. Stopps was an employee of the Lands Department. When Fitzgerald died in 1892, the government paid for the continued publication of the work, with Stopps completing the lithography from Fitzgerald's drawings, and the descriptive text supplied by Henry Deane, a botanist and engineer-in-chief of railways in the region, from Fitzgerald's notes and his own botanical observations. The 12 parts comprise 7 parts for vol. 1 and 5 parts for vol. 2. The above divers slightly from Stafleu & Cowan: Part 3 vol. 2 is dated December 1888, part 4 vol. 2 is noted dated on the wrapper. Stafleu & Cowan 1799; Nissen BBI 633; Great Flower Books p. 56.
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