JOHN MILLER (1715-ca.1790)
Illustratio Systematis Sexualis Linnaei ... An Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus. London: published and sold by the author, [1770-] 1777. One volume bound in two, large 2° (529 x 362mm). Engraved frontispiece incorporating medallion portraits of Linnaeus and Miller, title in Latin and English, duplicate title in 2nd volume, 1p. letterpress subscribers list, 1p. preface, 4pp. explanation, 2pp. errata, 4 hand-coloured engraved plates of leaf-forms, 104 FINE ENGRAVED PLATES, EACH IN TWO STATES, one hand-coloured before letters, the other uncoloured after letters, with accompanying leaf of descriptive text in Latib and English. (Some spotting of text, some offsetting from plates onto text, occasional light marginal soiling.) Contemporary tree calf gilt (rebacked, corners repaired, light scuffing to extremities). Provenance: Charles, 2nd Marquis of Rockingham (1730-1782, subscriber); Mary, Marchioness of Rockingham (inscription, dated 1804, bequeathing the work to:); Charles William, 5th Earl Fitzwilliam (by descent to:); William Charles, 7th Earl Fitzwilliam (armorial bookplate); Johannishus Bibliotek (bookplate, dated 1952).
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of Miller's work with the plates in two states. Miller (born Johann Sebastian Mueller, in Nuremberg) worked chiefly from specimens in the garden of John Fothergill at Upton in Essex (see Christie's sale of a selection of Fothergill specimens, 27 April 1994, lot 6.) This work was issued in 20 parts from 1770-1777 to 85 subscribers (who ordered 115 sets). The work was drawn to Linnaeus' attention by John Ellis in a letter dated 28 December 1770, in which he supposes that the work would make Linnaeus' 'system of botany familiar to the ladies, being in English as well as Latin. The figures are very well drawn, and very systematically dissected and described.' By 1772 Miller had sent some of the plates to Linnaeus for approval, who, greatly impressed, described them as more beautiful and accurate than any seen since the beginning of the world. Dunthorne 206; Great Flower Books p.68; Henrey III.1153; Nissen BBI 1372; Stafleu & Cowan 6482. (2)