WALLICH, Nathaniel (1786-1854). Plantae asiaticae rariores; or, Descriptions and figures of a select number of unpublished East Indian Plants. London: [Richard Taylor for] Treuttel and Würtz, -1830-1832.
3 volumes, 2° (535 x 361mm.), 294 hand-coloured lithographic plates on 294 sheets, by M. Gauci and Weddell after Gorchand, Vishnu Prasad, M. Curtis, Miss Drake, and others, plates 222/223 constituting one folding plate, printed by Engelmann, Graf, Coindet & Co., Engelmann & Co., and Graf & Soret, one hand-coloured engraved plate (plate 6 in vol. I), one folding double-page engraved map. (Plates affected by minor sporadic marginal soiling, plates 150 & 151 with adhesion mark in fore-edge margin not affecting text, some text leaves slightly evenly browned.) Contemporary green half morocco, gilt spines panelled in gilt with a triple fillet border with foliate corner pieces, marbled endpapers and edges (extremities lightly rubbed, some scuffing to spines).
A MAGNIFICENT RENDERING OF INDIAN PLANTS according to European taste, including on the first plate the orchid tree (Amherstia nobilis) which the author had found near a derelict monastery on the Salween river in what is now Myanmar. Like Roxburgh's earlier Plants of the Coast of Coromandel (see lot 47), this work was heavily subsidised by the East India Company, and even employed the same team of artists at the Calcutta botanic garden where Wallich served as director from 1817 to 1846. The Indian plant illustrator Gorchand executed 146 watercolour paintings for the work, and his colleague Vishnu Prasad 109, 'but all that is known about these two is their miserable pay - they received the same salary as scribes' (Lack). Wallich had several years' leave of absence in England to supervise the printing and colouring. According to his preface, the skilled colourist was 'Mr. John Clark.' Arnold Arboretum p. 729; Dunthorne 326 ('many decorative plates all well and carefully drawn'); Great Flower Books (1990) p.149; H. Walter Lack, Ein Garten Eden, Cologne: 2001, 70; Nissen BBI 2099; Pritzel 9957; Stafleu and Cowan 16583. (3)