JACQUIN, NIKOLAUS JOSEPH, Baron von. Plantarum rariorum Horti Caesarei Schönbrunnensis Descriptiones et Icones. Vienna: C. F. Wappler; London: B. & J. White; Leiden: S. & J. Luchtmans, 1797-1804.
4 vols., large folio, 463 x 322 mm., contemporary tree calf, covers with gilt border of Greek key and flower and leaf roll-tools, smooth spines panelled in gilt with gilt classical motifs, turn-ins gilt, g.e., several large scrapes to leather, upper inner hinge of vol. 1 cracked, folding plates 1 and 495 with trace of old crease and 1-inch tear at guard, small stain to pl. 200 just touching image, slight surface wear to folding plate 423, marginal dampstain to last 2 plates in vol. III, occasional slight marginal dust-soiling.
FIRST EDITION, NUMBER 68 OF LESS THAN 200 COPIES, 500 handcolored engraved plates, a few folding, after Johann Scharf and Martin Sedelmayer.
"JACQUIN'S GREATEST WORK ON CULTIVATED FLOWERS" (Blunt and Stearn, p. 177). Most of the species depicted, all plants growing in the Schönbrunn Botanic gardens, are rare and exotic, and many are South African. Under Jacquin's direction the royal garden at Schönbrunn had become the most celebrated botanical garden of the time. Following a severe frost in the winter of 1780 which destroyed many of the more fragile tropical and semi-tropical plants, two of the Schönbrunn gardeners were sent to Mauritius and South Africa to collect new specimens. One of them, Georg Schall, stayed there for 12 years, sending off regular shipments of plants to Vienna -- hence the predominance of South African species in this and others of Jacquin's works in this period. After losing Ferdinand Bauer to Sibthorp and his brother Franz to sheer Wanderlust, Jacquin took on a young draughtsman named Johann Scharf, whom he trained in botany, the use of a microscope, and the techniques of botanical drawing. Scharf was unfortunately tubercular and died in 1794, having completed only about 180 of the drawings for the Hortus Schönbrunnensis; Sedelmayer, one of Jacquin's many colorists, was charged with completing the work.
Dunthorne 156; Great Flower Books, p. 61; Nissen BBI 978; Pritzel 4372; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 3255 ("the history of the book merits further investigation").
Provenance: Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's London, 27 April, 1987, lot 182). (4)