GRANT, James Augustus (1827-1892), Daniel OLIVER (1830-1916) [and John Gilbert BAKER (1834-1920)]. Botany of the Speke and Grant expedition, an enumeration of the plants collected during the journey of the late Captain J.H. Speke and captain... J.A. Grant from Zanzibar to Egypt. The determinations and descriptions by Professor Oliver and others... with an introductory preface, alphabetical list of native names, and notes, by... J. Augustus Grant. Forming Vol.XXIX of the Transactions of the Linnean Society of London. Taylor and Francis, 1872[-1875].
4° (290 x 222mm). Title, dedication to John Cruickshank (verso blank), pp.[1-]190 text. Folding three-colour lithographic map with route marked by hand in red, 136 hand-coloured lithographic plates by and after Walter Hood Fitch, printed by John Nugent Fitch. (Light spotting to three final text leaves and plates 1, 38, 39 and 73, small tear to lower margin of plate 10.) Contemporary red morocco gilt, covers with triple fillet border, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with repeat decoration in gilt centered in a large flower-spray tool, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, g.e. (joints and spine slightly scuffed). Provenance: Sophia Murdoch (née Speke, sister of Captain Speke, by descent:); T.C. Lethbridge (extensive inscription and family tree on front free endpaper).
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THE BOTANY OF THE SPEKE AND GRANT EXPEDITION, HERE WITH AN EVOCATIVE PROVENANCE. There were two (or three) issues of the text for this work and two issues of the plates. The plates were available either uncoloured, or hand-coloured as here. The text was issued with the title dated 1872 and a dedication leaf; the Linnean Society re-issued(?) the text with changes to p.1, a new title The Transactions of the Linnean Society of London Volume XXIX (dated 1875), a contents leaf (noting that the work was issued in three parts between May 1872 and September 1875) but with no dedication leaf. A possible third issue (in the Herbarium of Missouri Botanical Garden) is described by Stafleu & Cowan and includes various 'bis' pages not present in either of the other two issues.
The fine plates, produced from 'actual specimens', are the work of Walter Hood Fitch, one of the greatest British botanical artists of the nineteenth century, and show 'either new species or such as had never been figured abroad or at home, the object being to present what was of the greatest interest to the botanist' (Introduction p.7). BM(NH) VII, p.953; Nissen BBI 1468; cf. Stafleu & Cowan III, 7057 (variant collation)