Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708-1770) and Jacob van Huysum (1687-1740)
Benjamin WILKES (d.1749 or earlier). The English Moths and Butterflies: together with the plants, flowers, and fruits whereon they feed. [Edited, arranged and prefaced by Henry Baker]. London: printed for and sold by Benjamin Wilkes, [circa 1747-1749]. Large 4 (314 x 262mm). 2pp. subscribers' list. 120 etched plates by Wilkes of butterflies and moths amidst plants, the plants from drawings by Ehret and van Huysum. Eighteenth century green morocco gilt, covers with single fillet, dog-tooth and 'greek-key' pattern border, the flat spine divided in three unequal compartments by roll-tool, lettered in the second, the first with a stylised fountain composed from various smaller tools, the third and largest compartment displaying a single large symetrical neo-classical design composed from numerous small tools, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, g.e. (some scuffing to spine and extremities, small tears to front pastedown). Provenance: early manuscript numbering, date on title and inscriptions in text; Achille Guene (bookplate).
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, BOUND TO THE NEO-CLASSICAL TASTE BY A BINDER OF THE TOP RANK. A HITHERTO UNRECOGNIZED ADDITION TO THE CANON OF WORKS WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AFTER THE "FLOWER PAINTER EXTRAORDINARY": GEORGE DIONYSIUS EHRET.
Paul Whalley, writing in 1972, quotes a letter from Henry Baker to William Arderon dated 17 August 1749. '..I am pleased to find the trifles I sent you proved all agreeable. The Natural History of Butterflies is in some sort my own child, having myself compiled it and put it in the order it is now, from Mr.Wilkes memorandums, he being indefatigable in his observations and faithful in the minuting down every particular but for the want of learning quite incapable of writing a book..' (see J. Soc. Biblphy. nat. Hist.  6 : 127). Engelmann p.557; Hagen p.289; Lisney 185; Nissen ZBI 4410.
[For more details concerning the publication of this work see lot ? ].