Jane Wells Loudon (1807-1858)
The Ladies' Flower-Garden of Ornamental Perennials. London: Bradbury & Evans for William Smith, 1844-1845. 2 volumes, 4° (286 x 220mm). Half-titles. 96 hand-coloured lithographic plates, printed by Day & Haghe. (Occasional spotting and light browning, small tear to blank outer margin of plate 49 in vol.II.) Original green cloth, elaborately blocked in gilt and bland (some discolouartion to covers, re-backed, old spines laid down), within a single modern green cloth box, green morocco lettering-piece.
First edition of Loudon's Ornamental Perennials one of a highly popular series which influenced a generation of Victorian gardeners. Jane Webb married John Loudon (botanist, gardener, farmer and horticultural writer) in 1830, when she was 23 and he 47. He had sought her out after reviewing a copy of her first published novel The Mummy, a tale of the twenty-second century. They met in February 1830 and married on 14 September. By 1838 John Loudon was seriously in debt and Mrs. Loudon was prompted to write botanical works on her own account. The Ladies' Flower Garden of Ornamental Annuals appeared in 1840, and proved to be the first of an increasing flow of populist works to appear throughout the 1840's, the best known of which are The Ladies' Flower Garden of ornamental bulbous plants (1841), ..of ornamental perennials (2 vols., 1843-1844); ..of ornamental greenhouse plants (1848) and British Wild Flowers (1846). "Loudon developed a simple formula for these works, combining a brief text with charming illustrations, an arrangement that appealed to her audience. For each plant a brief botanical description was provided, including its common name in English, its order and genus... some historical and geographical notes, and instructions regarding its cultivation" (L. Tongiorgi Tomasi An Oak Spring Flora p.326).
Great Flower Books (1990) p.115; Nissen BBI 1237. (2)