24 June 2009
LINNAEUS, Carolus. Philosophia Botanica in qua explicantur fundamenta botanica cum definitionibus partium, exemplis terminorum, observationibus rariorum. Stockholm: Godofr Kiesewetter, Amsterdam: Z. Chatelain, 1751.
8o (205 x 126 mm). 9 engraved plates (all before numerals and letters) and 2 woodcuts in the text (lacking the portrait). (Early tape repair to title-page and last few leaves.) 20th century library cloth. Provenance: Linnean Society duplicate ink stamp on title-page.
FIRST EDITION. With manuscript annotations to the engraved plates including two small manuscript figures added to plate III, possibly by Linnaeus's son Carl. In 1784 James Edward Smith (1759-1828) bought at botanist Joseph Banks's suggestion the nearly 3,000 books, plants, minerals, insects and manuscripts that comprised Linnaeus's private collections. In October of 1784 Smith hired rooms in Chelsea to display the collection, but it wasn't until 1788 at the Society's first meeting at Smith's home that the name The Linnean Society of London was taken with Smith appointed the first President. After Smith's death the Society purchased his own and Linnaeus's collections, the almost entirety of which remain in the Society's keeping in Burlington House, Piccadilly. The early state of the plates and annotations suggest an early copy that may have been annotated by his son (see Maggs catalogue 1327, item 13). This copy was discarded from the library (after 1925) which still houses three copies of this work, all of which have the plate numbers and captions engraved in the plate, and one of which is interleaved with manuscript notes and has extensive corrections in a hand attributed by the Linnean Library to Linnaeus's son Carl, and very similar to that of the annotations in this copy.
The Philosophia Botanica was based on Linnaeus's earlier work the Fundamenta Botanica (Amsterdam, 1736), and contains commentaries and explanations of the 365 aphorisms of the Fundamenta. Hunt 541; Soulsby 437 (variant as in 441, with plates X and XI printed as illustrations in the text); Wellcome III, 525.
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