BAUER, Ferdinand Lukas (1760-1826). Illustrationes florae Novae Hollandiae, sive icones generum quae in prodromo florae Novae Hollandiae et insulae Van Diemen descripsit Robertus Brown. London: veneunt apud Auctorem, [1806-]1813.
3 parts (all issued), 2° (510 x 338mm). Pp.[i-ii] letterpress title (verso blank), pp.[iii-iv] dedication to Sir Joseph Banks (verso blank), p.[v] 'Ratio Operis', pp.[vi-]vii 'Tabularum Explicatio', p.[viii] blank. 15 FINE COPPER-ENGRAVED PLATES, MOST PRINTED IN TWO OR MORE COLOURS, ALL FINISHED BY HAND, BY AND AFTER BAUER. (Title and other letterpress leaves torn with loss to blank margins and corners, neatly repaired, the title creased and somewhat soiled, very light spotting or soiling to plates 1-4, 6 and 11). Unbound as issued, now contained within original blue-grey paper wrappers to part III, with letterpress and manuscript paper label mounted on upper cover, all within an original blue paper-covered card portfolio to part I, with cloth ties and letterpress and manuscript paper label mounted on upper cover (extensive expert repairs to wrappers to part III, portfolio to part I rebacked). 20th-century blue cloth box with brown morocco title label on upper cover tooled in gilt.
VERY RARE: ACCORDING TO STAFLEU & COWAN FEWER THAN 50 COPIES WERE EVER PUBLISHED. 'In 1801 Bauer went as natural history artist on the coastal survey of New Holland carried out under the command of Captain Flinders in H.M.S. Investigator. Robert Brown was the naturalist on this expedition, and both he and Bauer went on the recommendation and at the expense of Sir Joseph Banks. In 1803, after the Investigator was condemned as unseaworthy, Captain Flinders decided to return to England to obtain another ship to complete the expedition. Bauer and Brown, however, continued their travels in Australia, and finally returned to England in 1805 with several thousands of botanical specimens and many hundreds of sketches of plants. In 1806 Bauer began to publish his Illustrationes florare Novae Hollandiae, a work which did not meet with significant encouragement to be continued after the third number.' (Henry II, p.195). Ferdinand Bauer's elder brother, Franz Andreas, later explained that the project was abandoned due to Ferdinand's inablity to find competent engravers and colourists to complete it, forcing Ferdinand's return to his native Austria. According to the labels on the present copy, the work was issued with the plates 'plain' (uncoloured) for 5 or 7 shillings per part, or coloured for £1/11s/6d per part (as here).
The present example has an intriguing note on the label to the cover of the third part '5. No. 1 taken out for Sir J. Banks 1 Mr. Menzies 1 R[?] B. 1 Mr Smith 1 Mr Salisbury 7.6' - it appears to refer to individuals who received at least part of the present work. The names present little problems of identification: Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), Archibald Menzies (1754-1842), Robert Brown (1773-1858), Sir Edward James Smith (1759-1828) and Richard Anthony Salisbury (1761-1829). The inscription is almost certainly exactly contemporary with the part - Smith, here referred to as 'Mr.' was knighted in 1814. BM(NH) I,p.112; Dunthorne 27; Ferguson I, 549; Great Flower Books (1990) p.73 ('A rare and very beautiful work'); Henrey II,p.195; Nissen BBI 96; Stafleu & Cowan I,362.