NATURE PRINTING -- Thomas MOORE (1821-1887). The Ferns of Great Britain and Ireland... Edited by John Lindley... Nature-printed by Henry Bradbury. London: Bradbury & Evans, 1855[-1856].
2° (548 x 365mm). Half-title. 51 nature-printed plates, all printed in colours, by Bradbury & Evans under the direction of Henry Bradbury. (Half-title almost detached.) Contemporary red morocco gilt, covers with wide decorative border in gilt and blind surrounding the centrally-placed arms of Leopold I, King of the Belgiums, with initials 'L.I.' immediately beneath the arms, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and the fifth, the others with repeat decoration of stylised scrolling foliage, gilt turn-ins, g.e. (very light scuffing to edges and spine). Provenance: Leopold I, King of the Belgians (1790-1865, binding, sale, Christies, 26 April 1989 lot 68, sold to Maggs)
A VERY FINE COPY, WITH ROYAL PROVENANCE, OF THE FIRST EDITION OF BRADBURY'S CHEF D'OEUVRE AND A FINE EXAMPLE OF NATURE PRINTING. Henry Bradbury (1831-1860), eldest son of William Bradbury of Bradbury & Evans, published the present work in 17 monthly parts between June 1855 and September 1856. With text by Thomas Moore (curator of the Chelsea botanic garden and co-editor of Gardener's Chronicle) and edited by John Lindley (1799-1865), the work was one of the first of the genre printed in Britain. Bradbury went on to publish a four-volume work with nature-printed plates of sea-weeds (W.H. Johnstone & A. Croall. The nature-printed British Seaweeds. London: 1859-60, see lot 46). It is not known how the controversy surrounding nature printing affected Bradbury, but he committed suicide at the age of 29 by drinking acid. He left a number of unfinished projects, including two further nature-printed works on fungi and trees. Fischer 89; Nissen BBI 1400; Stafleu & Cowan 6275.