MARTIUS, CARL FRIEDRICH PHILIPP von. Historia Naturalis Palmarum. Opus tripartitum cuius volumen primum palmas generatium tractat, volumen secundum Brasiliae palmas singulatim descriptione et icone illustrat, volumen tertium ordinis familiarum generum characteres recenset species selectas describit et figuris adumbrat adiecta omnium synopsi. Accedunt tabulate CCXLV. Leipzig: F. Fleischer, 1823 [-1853].
3 vols, large folio, 610 x 440 mm., contemporary half russia gilt, foot of spine of vol. 1 slightly defective, other spine extremities and corners worn, very occasional single fox mark on text leaves, plates 36, 78, 99, 128 and 151 with minor areas of discoloration.
FIRST EDITION, First Issue (a later undated issue appeared c. 1870 with inferior plates). Lithographed portrait of Martius on india paper mounted as frontispiece, 24 uncolored and 221 handcolored lithographed plates (a few in vol. 1 partly colored), many with multiple subjects, by Ezdorf, Hess, Hohe, Ott and Zieglier after Ferdinand Bauer, Hugo Mohl and Martius.
A FINE COPY of this monumental monograph on palms. Martius (1794-1868) was the curator's assistant at the Munich botanical garden when he was sent in 1817 as one of the botanists on the Austrian exhibition to Brazil. Hugo von Mohl and Franz Joseph Andreas Nikolaus Unger contributed long sections on plant structure and fossils respectively in the first volume. In addition to the wealth of scientific and technical illustrations in this volume (including charts, graphs and microscopic details) there are four maps. The second and third volume contain a number of landscape views, many with figures, mostly of Brazil with a few of Africa and Asia, from Martius's drawings. Many of these charming scenes, particularly of tropical forests, have some of the most vivid and brilliant handcoloring of any color-plate books.
Nissen BBI 1286; Pritzel 5884; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 5520.
Provenance: Kenneth K. Mackenzie; Horticultural Society of New York, bookplate -- Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's London, 28 April 1987, lot 229). (3)