JACQUIN, NIKOLAUS JOSEPH, Baron von. Selectarum stirpium americanarum historia, in qua Linnaeanum Systema Determinatae Descriptaeque Sistuntur Plantae illae, quas in insulis Martinica, Jamaica, Domingo, aliisque, et in Viciniae continentis parte, observavit. Vienna: ex officina Krausiana, 1763.
Folio, 368 x 237 mm., later eighteenth-century half calf, spine panelled in gilt, red morocco gilt lettering-piece, worn, joints and extremities rubbed, some loss to leather at corners, endleaves creased, occasional very light spotting or browning to text leaves, lower margins of fols. K2-3 trimmed slightly, lower blank corner of pl. 44 torn away, plates 82-83 and 111-118 discolored.
FIRST EDITION, half-title, additional engraved frontispiece-title showing two Native Americans holding up a banner containing a map of the West Indies, surrounded by Caribbean flowering plants and animals, engraved title vignette of colonists arriving on a Caribbean island in a stormy sea, engraved head-piece vignette, woodcut initial, factotum, and tail-pieces, 184 numbered engraved plates of West Indian plants after Jacquin (numbered 1-183 with a 37*), one folding, a few showing different stages of growth or plant parts.
JACQUIN'S FIRST MAJOR PUBLICATION AND HIS FIRST ILLUSTRATED WORK. In 1752, the Dutch physician and botanist Gerard van Swieten, an old friend of Jacquin's father, invited the young man, aged 25 at the time, to come study in Vienna. Inspired by the recent bankruptcy of Jacquin Sr., this gesture of kindness bore immediate fruit, as the young man showed such great promise in his botanical studies that he attracted the interest of Franz I, Maria Theresa's husband, while working in the Schönbrunn gardens. The Emperor soon commissioned him to produce a systematic catalogue of the plants in the gardens, and in 1754, asked him to voyage to the West Indies to collect tropical plant specimens and live animals for the gardens at Schönbrunn and the royal Menagerie. Jacquin set sail on January 1, 1755, and spent the next four years exploring the Antilles and part of South America and diligently amassing plants, natural history specimens, and ethnographica. "Ants damaged Jacquin's herbarium material, and he therefore supplemented his descriptions and notes on the new species with watercolor drawings" (Blunt and Stearn, p. 175). The project was a great success, and Jacquin's work provided the first solid foundation for European knowledge of the natural history of this area. Upon his return he quickly published an Enumeratio of the plant species of the Caribbean islands; the publication three years later of the present complementary volume, illustrated with engravings taken from his field sketches and drawings, brought him sudden but lasting fame.
Dunthorne 148; Hunt 579; Nissen BBI 979; Pritzel 4362; Stafleu and Cowan TL2 3243 ("an important complement to the 1760 Enumeratio and should always be consulted with it").
Provenance: All but the first 12 plates with Latin names supplied in neat contemporary manuscript captions -- Corn. Henr. â Roy, armorial bookplate -- Robert de Belder.