BUCHOZ, Pierre Joseph (1731-1807). Herbier colorié de l'Amérique. Représentant les plantes les plus rares et les plus curieuses, qui se trouvent dans cette nouvelle partie du Monde. Paris: Chez l'auteur, 1783.
2o (448 x 276 mm). Engraved title and 100 hand-colored engraved plates, numbered and ordered irregularly from 2-200 (some occasional pale foxing and light soiling). Modern red morocco. Provenance: Giana Mount Stephen (bookplate); Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Albert C. Burrage Fund (bookplate).
A VERY FINE AND RARE COLLECTION OF AMERICAN SUBJECTS. Buc'hoz apparently collected these plates from the Histoire Universelle du Règne Végétale and Le Jardin d'Éden. Correspondence bound in between Dorothy S. Manks of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Alfred Rehder of the Arnold Arboretum and T.A. Sprague of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew attest to the rarity of the collection. Rehder had listed the book as having 200 plates in the Bradley bibliography, but Manks notes that there are only 100 plates present [the Society was considering purchasing it from Quaritch]. Rehder writes that he must have made a mistake, since the highest numbered plate reads 200, and that the Kew Garden copy also only contains 100 plates. Sprague confirms this plate count, but notes "the various copies of the 'Herbier' must have had different selections of plates, since there are 111 different plates in the Kew and Quaritch copies taken together. Alternately, a complete copy might have consisted of 200 plates, as indicated in the Bradley Bibliography, and as suggested by the lettering of the Quartich volume. I think it is very unlikely that you will be able to trace a companion second volume, supposing that such a volume exists... There is no doubt that the work is extremely rare, as stated by Messrs. Quaritch."
Buchoz, a physician and naturalist, is now best known as a compiler and book publisher of enormous energy. The complete list of his works runs to over 500, the majority of them now very rare. The images he used were usually 'borrowed' from the works of others and, although generally of a relatively high standard from an aesthetic stand-point, they are only occasionally useful in the study of plant history (they sometimes included new generic names).
ONLY THREE COPIES HAVE BEEN TRACED OF THIS TITLE, confirming the book's rarity. Dunthorne lists it based solely on examination of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society, noting: "extremely rare." Dunthorne 68; Nissen BBI 285; Stafleau & Cowan TL2 879 (only one copy examined, The New York Botanical Garden copy, with 102 plates).