MILLER, Philip (1691-1771). Figures of Beautiful, Useful, and Uncommon Plants described in the Gardeners Dictionary. London: printed for the Author, to be sold by John Rivington, A. Millar, and others, [1755-]1760.
2 volumes, 2° (413 x 258mm). 300 hand-coloured engraved plates 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, some with colour-printed bases, engraved headpiece, woodcut headbands and initials. (Light marginal offsetting on vol. I title, some variable light browning and offsetting.) Contemporary speckled calf gilt, boards with gilt borders and board edges, spines gilt and with gilt morocco lettering-pieces (extremities rubbed and chipped, skillful repairs to joints and corners, skillfully repaired tears on boards). Provenance: some plate numbers corrected in manuscript--Frankland (bookplates)--sale, Christie's New York, 4 June 1997, lot 111.
FIRST EDITION. Miller's preface explains that the expense of the production has caused him '... almost from the Beginning ... to contract his Plan, and confine it to those Plants only, which are either curious in themselves, or may be useful in Trades, Medicine, &c, including the Figures of such new Plants as have not been noticed by any former Botanists', and the work's importance was immediately appreciated; its success may be attributed to Miller's fame (his contemporaries awarded him 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 after his death (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 and engravers of the period, Georg Dionysius Ehret and Johann Sebastian Mueller (or Miller). Dunthorne 209; Great Flower Books (1990) p.121; Henrey 1097; Hunt 566; Nissen BBI 1378; Pritzel 6241; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 6059. (2)