MILLER, John (1715-ca.1790). Illustratio Systematis Sexualis Linnaei ... An Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus. London: published and sold by the author, [1770-] 1777.
Large 2° (530 x 360mm.). Engraved frontispiece incorporating medallion portraits of Linnaeus and Miller, title in Latin and English, 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. (Very occasional light spotting.) Straight-grained red morocco, covers with ruled borders enclosing roll-tool of stylised plants, star cornerpieces, spine in seven sections ruled and lettered in gilt, Greek-key pattern inner dentelles, g.e, by Staggemeier and Welcher with their ticket, original blue silk marker (lower corners lightly scuffed, upper cover slightly rubbed); Provenance: Beriah Botfield (sale, Christie's, 23 June 1993, lot 58).
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.) The work was issued in 20 parts from 1770-1777 to 85 subscribers (who ordered 105 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. Nissen BBI 1372; Henrey 1153; Dunthorne 206; Great Flower Books p.68.