CURTIS, William (1746-1799). The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, London: Stephen Couchman for William Curtis, and others, 1793-2003. Volumes I-CLXXXIV part IV and volumes 1-20 part 2 in 280 volumes, 8° (235 x 139mm). Circa 9,688 hand-coloured engraved or lithographed plates after William Curtis, Sydenham Edwards, James Sowerby, William Jackson Hooker and others. Plates from 1948 onwards coloured photographic reproductions. (Lacking portrait of Curtis, a few endpapers loose, occasional light scattered spotting, browning and offsetting, some occasional ink annotation on front endpapers.) 105 half calf or morocco-bound vols., 51 buckram or cloth-bound vols., 124 vols. in wrappers (wear to leather-bound volumes, about half with sellotape repairs, cloth vols. a little rubbed and scuffed). Provenance: Birmingham Botanical and Horticultural Library (stamps on most titles and verso of virtually all plates until 1903).
A COMPLETE RUN OF "THE OLDEST CURRENT SCIENTIFIC PERIODICAL OF ITS KIND WITH COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE WORLD ... in the beauty of production and high standard of its contributions it can claim a unique place" (Patrick Synge, Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society (1948), 73: pp. 5-6). The first part of the Botanical Magazine was published in February 1787 and was at once a huge success, endorsing Curtis's theory that his clients, who refused to buy folio pictures of unassuming plants, would subscribe to an octavo work depicting the showy plants in their gardens. The publication became a primary source for the study of the history of gardening tastes and methods, and of plant introductions, with an emphasis on European and Eastern North American plants under Curtis's editorship, until his death in 1799. He was succeeded as editor by John Sims until 1826, William Jackson Hooker 1827-65 and Joseph Dalton Hooker 1865-1904. In 1984 it was incorporated into a new enlarged publication The Kew Magazine before reverting back to the Botanical Magazine in 1995. Great Flower Books (1990) pp. 156-7; Henrey 473; Hunt 689; Nissen BBI 2350; Pritzel 2007; Stafleu & Cowan 1290. Sold as a periodical, not subject to return.
The plate of Rosa Gallica ("Striped Red Rose, or Rosa Mundi") is illustrated on the front cover of this catalogue. (156)