[HILL, Sir John (1716?-1775)]. Eden: or, a compleat body of gardening ... compiled and digested from papers of the late celebrated Mr. Hale. London: printed for T. Osborne [and others], -1757.
Demy 2° (420 x 258mm). Engraved emblematic frontispiece by Charles Grignon after Samuel Wale and 60 plates printed in dark green, all finely hand-coloured by a contemporary hand, by Hill, Boyce, Cole, Alton, Edwards and Darly after van Huysum, Edwards and others. (Without the additional 2pp. letterpress dedication to the Earl of Bute found in most copies, light offsetting to about five plates, plate 19 with 15mm. tear to upper blank margin.) Contemporary diced russia gilt, decorative border to covers, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in the second, the others with elaborate repeat tooling in gilt (rebacked, original spine laid down, corners neatly repaired). Provenance: Philip Stannard (Norwich, early armorial bookplate) -- Pratt family (ink stamp 'Ryston Hall, Downham, Norfolk, 188').
A VERY FINE COPY OF THE RARE COLOURED ISSUE OF ONE OF THE FIRST 'MODERN' GARDENING BOOKS. The work was issued in 60 weekly parts between August 1756 and October 1757, and appears to have been available with plates uncoloured or coloured. A contemporary advertisment, in the Public Advertiser for 16 November 1757, stated that 'there are some sets curiously coloured from nature, to be had of the proprietors' and that 'the drawings have all been made from nature by Dr. Hill, and the greatest part of the plates engraved by his own hand.' The work was designed along unusual lines for the period, each weekly part including information on what should be done in the garden during the following week, along with descriptions of the plants that should then be at their peak. It was intended as a companion to the Compleat Body of Husbandry (London, 1756), both works giving Thomas Hale as their author, though this was probably a pseudonym.
Henrey III, 776; Hunt 559; Nissen BBI 880; cf. Tongiorgi Tomasi An Oak Spring Flora 53 (second edition).