MARTYN, THOMAS. Historia plantarum rariorum. London: Richard Reily, 1728 [-1738].
Folio, 498 x 334 mm., eighteenth-century sprinkled calf gilt, later endpapers, rebacked, small abrasion on plate facing p. 26 not affecting subject, some very minor spotting or foxing, mostly towards the end of the volume, A2 with small marginal tear.
FIRST EDITION. Imprimatur leaf of Sir Hans Sloane as President of the Royal Society at front, title printed in red and black, large headpiece mezzotint vignette and engraved and mezzotint initial at opening of preface, engraved plate of dedication to the Royal Society incorporating the Society's coat-of-arms and 50 mezzotint plates printed in colors and finished by hand, engraved by Elisha Kirkall after paintings by Jacob van Huysum, W. Houstoun, Massey, G. Sartorys and R. Sartorius.
THE FIRST BOTANICAL BOOK ILLUSTRATED WITH COLOR-PRINTED PLATES, beginning its publication shortly before the Society of Gardeners' Catalogus plantarum. Published in five parts over ten years, each decade of letterpress and plates begins with a headpiece vignette and an ornamental large initial. Most of the plates are printed in two colors, occasionally more. Each is dedicated to a patron-subscriber with an engraved coat-of-arms or monogram. The book is devoted to new species growing at Chelsea Physic Garden and the Cambridge Botanic Garden.
Inserted as a frontispiece is a grey wash drawing "1738 Two Views of a Large Chesnut Tree Growing in the Right-Honble the Lord Petre's Park at Writtle in Essex." Robert James Petre (1713-1742), eighth Baron Petre, cultivated the first camellias in England at the garden of his seat Thorndon Hall, Writtle. Petre was a patron of the work as is shown by his coat-of-arms on the plate facing p. 36, "Granadilla Americana."
Dunthorne 194; Great Flower Books, p. 67; Henrey 1016; Hunt 476; Nissen BBI 1289; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 5563.
Provenance: C.S. Collinson, pencil inscription on title-page -- The Earl of Derby, Knowsley Hall, bookplate and shelf-mark (sale, Christie's London, 30 June 1971, lot 81) -- Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's London, 28 April 1987, lot 231).