CURTIS, William (1746-1799, vols I-XIV) and John SIMS (1749-1831, vols XV-XLII). The Botanical Magazine. London: Fry and Couchman [vols I-IV] and Stephen Couchman [vols V-XIV] for W. Curtis [vols I-XIV], and Stephen Couchman for T. Curtis [vols XV-XXVI], H.D. Symonds [XXVII-XVIII], and Sherwood, Neely, & Jones [XXIX-XLII], 1787-1815.
42 volumes bound in 21, 8° (228 x 140mm). 1774 engraved plates [including 4 bis plates], by F. Sansom et al. after Sydenham Edwards, James Sowerby et al., all but 3 hand-coloured, some with colour-printed bases, 71 folding. Text for plates 33-34 and 1606-9 with cancellans letterpress slips pasted over numbers, cancellans text leaves for plates 532, 717 and 1505. Index leaves bound in at the end of each volume. 4-page 'Catalogue of Seeds sold by Curtis & Salisbury at the Botanic Nursery ... 1799' bound in at the end of vols XIII/XIV, leaf 'To the Subscribers to the Botanical Magazine' bound in after no. 1,232, and leaf titled 'To the Readers of the Botanical Magazine' bound in after no. 1,366. (Some variable light browning, spotting and offsetting, one plate with short tear, 9 plates trimmed with loss of image, minor worming affecting a few leaves and plates of XXXIII and XXXVI, plates and text for nos 49-50, and 1737-8 and 1739-1740 bound in reverse order, lacking text for no. 120, text to no. 225 trimmed with loss.) Contemporary half calf over marbled paper, spines numbered in gilt and with gilt morocco lettering-pieces (extremities rubbed and chipped, some joints with short splits, some book block splitting). Provenance: Eliza. Pares (early ownership inscription on vol. I/II upper pastedown).
FIRST EDITIONS. 'THE MOST CELEBRATED OF ALL BOTANICAL MAGAZINES' (Cleveland Collections). Curtis began the Botanical Magazine in 1787, in an attempt to cover some of the losses incurred by his Flora Londinensis (London: 1775-98); however, instead of limiting his scope to plants commonly found within a 10-mile radius of London, 'the new venture was supposed to portray the more popular exotic plants--although one will note that a surprisingly large number of the more common plants appear during the time that Curtis edited the magazine (op. cit.). This changed following Curtis' death in 1799, when John Sims took over the editorship and introduced more exotic specimens into the journal's pages, including some South African examples. In this set, volume I is the first issue, with the title dated 1787 and without a volume number. BM(NH) I, p.408; Brunet II, col.446; Cleveland Collections 577; Nissen BBI 2350; Pritzel 2007. (21)