DILLENIUS, Johann Jacob (1687-1747). Hortus Elthamensis seu Plantarum Rariorum quas in horto suo Elthami in Canto coluit... Jacobus Sherard. London: G. Smith for the author, 1732.
2 volumes, 2° (470 x 285mm). Half-titles. 325 hand-coloured engraved plates by the author (numbered 1-167, 166 bis, 168-324), woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials. (Occasional unobtrusive light browning or spotting, notably to half-title of vol. II, 23 plates with images partially affected by offsetting of text, upper margin of several leaves slightly affected by mildew, not affecting text or plates, large powdered ink stain to lower corner of pl.22 just touching platemark, smaller stain to margin of pl.100.). Contemporary crimson morocco gilt, covers with roll-tooled dentelle border, spine in seven compartments, with dark blue morocco lettering-piece and tooled with repeated starbursts, gilt edges (a few scuff marks and stains to covers, lower joint of vol. II slightly split, corners slightly bumped). Provenance: Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753, manuscript inscription in Thomas Stack's hand on flyleaf on vol. I, 'Bibliotheca Sloaniana Min: 71' and vol. II '..Min: 72') -- British Library (both volumes with ink stamp on verso of title and final text leaf; deaccession inkstamp in red dated 1831 on verso of title).
SIR HANS SLOANE'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, ONE OF 'A FEW HAND-COLOURED COPIES' (HUNT) IN A LIMITATION OF 250 COPIES. This was the most important 18th-century work to deal with plants in a private garden. No coloured copies have appeared at auction in the past quarter century. Dillenius, a native of Darmstadt, came to England in 1721. He adopted Ray's system, became Sherardian Professor of Botany at Oxford and 'one of the most important botanists of his time.' His 'magnificent' work (Hunt) comprises an illustrated catalogue of the rare and exotic plants in the gardens at Eltham belonging to his benefactor, the botanist and apothecary, James Sherard (1666-1738). The illustrations, drawn and engraved by Dillenius himself, not only show him to be a gifted artist, but 'were sufficiently accurate to be of considerable service to Linnaeus' (Hunt). Dunthorne 94; Great Flower Books p.55; Henrey 643; Hunt 647 (1774 edition); Nissen BBI 492; Stafleu and Cowan 1471. (2)