London, South Kensington
8 October 2014
WILLIAM CURTIS (1746-1799) AND OTHERS
The Botanical Magazine; or Flower Garden Displayed. London: 1787-1866. Volumes I - XCII, together with indexes and a volume of Companion pieces to the periodical, divided into Linnean Classes and bound in 27 vols, 8° (245 x 150mm). Approximately 3,700 hand-coloured engraved plates, many folding. (Lacking three bound vols from vols I-XX and one from vols 54-88, occasional variable very light spotting, offsetting and browning.) Late 19th-/early 20th-century half calf over marbled-paper covered boards by the Workshop for Cripples, 111 Shaw St, Liverpool, flat spines ruled in gilt, uncut (rubbed and worn with a number of head- and tailcaps defective and covers detached). Provenance: R[ichard] Bright (1754-1840 ink ownership inscription dated 1789 on first title).
FINE HAND-COLOURED PLATES IN 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. 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.
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