KNIGHT, Joseph (c.1777-1855). On the cultivation of the plants belonging to the natural order of Proteeae. London: William Savage, 1809.
4° (295 x 230mm). Wood-engraved printer's device on title and verso of final text leaf, errata slip bound in, 6pp. publisher's advertisments, 1p. author's advertisment. Hand-coloured engraved frontispiece. (Some spotting.) Early brown paper-covered boards, section of green paper upper wrapper mounted as title panel on upper cover, uncut (rebacked, corners expertly repaired).
AN IMPORTANT EARLY WORK ON THE PROTEAS: A VARIED AND BEAUTIFUL FAMILY OF FLOWERING PLANTS, THE MAJORITY FROM THE SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE. The work is particularly interesting as it written by a working gardener who concentrates on both naming and describing as many species as possible and giving practical directions on how they should be grown in northern climes (soil, temperature, the taking of cuttings, etc.). Knight advertises himself as a nurseryman and seedsman of King's Road, Chelsea, but, as he readily acknowledges, the guiding force behind both this work and his business was his ex-employer George Hibbert (1757-1837) of Clapham: 'To cultivate the... [Proteas]... lately at Clapham... with some degree of success... was rendered easy... by the encouragement of a master, who... spared no expense really necessary to their welfare, and left the hands of his servant unshackled' (preface). His debt to Hibbert is made clearer by the page advertising Knight's services as a seedsman and nurseryman: he notes 'that he entered into business with the entire Collection of Mr. Hibbert's Exotic Plants; a Collection which... was particularly rich in Proteas, Ericas, and other rare and ornamental Plants, as no expense was spared to procure them from the Cape of Good Hope, New Holland, China, and every other part of the world.' BM(NH) II,p.997.