New York, East
5 June 1997
GMELIN, JOHANN GEORG. Flora Sibirica sive Historia Plantarum Siberiae... St. Petersburg: ex typographia Academiae Scientiarum, 1747-69. 4 vols., 4to, 257 x 201 mm., late eighteenth-century calf, spines gilt, minor wear to joints; without plate 35 in vol. 4, generally very clean set. FIRST EDITION of the first comprehensive flora of Siberia, the first two volumes being the basis of Linnaeus' citations of plants of this region in the Species plantarum (1753). 301 engraved plates on 285 leaves (without plate 35 in vol. 4), mostly folding. Nissen BBI 721; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 2047; Pritzel 3381.
In 1733 Gmelin embarked on an imperial scientific expedition to eastern Siberia with the historian Gerhard Friedrich Müller and the astronomer Louis Delisle de la Croyère which was to last nine and a half years. As well as describing 1178 species, he also enlarged upon the geography, geology, ethnography and natural resources of the area. Gmelin's preface includes an overall picture of the nature of central Siberia and his work represents the most important of the early contributions to the natural history and geography of the Siberian mainland.
Provenance: Sir Gore Ouseley, bookplate in each volume. Sir Ouseley was a diplomat who served in St. Petersburg from April 1814 to July 1815, during which time he negotiated a peace treaty between Russia and Persia, for which he was decorated with the Grand Cordon of the order of St. Alexander of Newski (featured on his bookplate) -- Robert de Belder. (4)
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