MILLER, Philip (1691-1771) [?and Thomas MARTYN (1735-1825)]. Figures of Beautiful, Useful, and Uncommon Plants described in the Gardeners' Dictionary ... to which is added an account of the classes and orders to which they belong according to Linnaeus's method of classing them. London: Law and Gilbert for F. C. and J. Rivington, J. Johnson, T. Payne et al., 1809.
2 volumes bound in one, 2° (424 x 269mm). Letterpress titles, index leaves X2-2A2 bound after preface, retaining blank U2. 300 hand-coloured engraved plates printed in black, green and other inks and heightened with gum arabic by T. Jefferys, J.S. Miller and J. Mynde after J. Bartram, G.D. Ehret, W. Houston, R. Lancake and J.S. Miller, 2 folding. (Text leaves lightly spotted and browned, plates with occasional very light spotting or browning, one plate with short tear neatly repaired on verso, a few latter plates with light marginal dampstaining.) Contemporary calf gilt, boards with borders of blind rolls within triple gilt fillets, modern spine decorated in gilt and with gilt morocco lettering-piece (rubbed and scuffed, skilfully rebacked and repaired at board edges). Provenance: erased marginal stamp on B2r -- Young, Oxted (inscription on flyleaf) -- [sale, Sotheby's London, 26 June 1997, lot 48].
THIRD, REVISED EDITION. An internally fresh copy with good margins. The preface explains that the expenses of production meant that the work 'was confined chiefly to those Plants which are either highly ornamental and remarkable for the singularity of their structure, or the beauty of their flowers, or are distinguished for their utility in Medicine and the Arts; including some which had not then been noticed by any former Botanists' (p.iii). Miller's Figures was first published in 1760, and its importance immediately appreciated; its success may be attributed to the author's fame (his contemporaries honoured him with the soubriquet 'hortulanorum princeps'), the variety of species described, and the quality of the plates. The plants illustrated were either engraved from drawings of specimens in the Garden, or drawings supplied by Miller's numerous correspondents, who included John Bartram, the Pennsylvanian naturalist (cf. plate 272), and Dr William Houston, who travelled widely in the Americas and West Indies, and bequeathed Miller his papers, drawings and dried samples(cf. plates 44 and 182). For the plants drawn from examples in the Garden, Miller employed Richard Lancake and two of the leading botanical artists of the period, Georg Dionysius Ehret and Johann Sebastian Mueller (or Miller). A second edition was published in 1771, and was followed by this edition, with a new text (attributed by Stafleu & Cowan to Thomas Martyn, who edited and revised the 1795-1809 edition of Miller's Gardener's and Botanist's Dictionary) and 'Linnean and English Names ... given at the bottom of each Plate; instead of the specific difference, which were at first inserted' (preface, p.iii). Great Flower Books (1990) p.121; Henrey 1099; Nissen BBI 1378; Stafleu & Cowan 6059.