28 November 2001
Robert Furber (1674?-1756, publisher)
Twelve Months of Flowers. Kensington: Robert Furber, 1730. Broadsheet 2° (588 x 458mm. and smaller). Engraved leaf of subscribers including title and dedication all within pictorial border of flowering garden plants, 12 FINE HAND-COLOURED ENGRAVED PLATES by Henry Fletcher after Pieter Casteels. (All cut close to or within plate mark). Unbound but tipped onto sheet of 18th-century backing paper (subscribers leaf: folded and un-mounted). Dunthorne 113; Great Flower Books p.57; Henrey 733; Nissen BBI 674; Oak Spring Flora 37.
[Twelve Months of Fruit.] Kensington: Robert Furber, 1732. Broadsheet 2° (437 x 352mm. and smaller). 12 fine hand-coloured engraved plates by Henry Fletcher and others after Peter Casteels. (All cut close to or within plate mark.) Unbound but tipped onto sheets of 18th-century backing paper. Dunthorne 117; Henrey 734; Nissen BBI 675; Oak Spring Pomona 26. All within a single modern green morocco-backed cloth box, titled in gilt on 'spine'.
A VERY RARE COMPLETE SET OF BOTH OF FURBER'S LARGE SCALE FLOWER AND FRUIT SERIES. Robert Furber was a nurseryman with gardens near Hyde Park Gate in Kensington, and for many years a churchwarden at St. Mary Abbot's, Kensington. The Flowers was issued as a luxurious catalogue for his stock: over 400 flowers are illustrated, and each is identified in the key below the picture so that customers could easily order their requirements. The twelve plates were issued on a subscription basis: the thirteenth plate, issued after the floral plates and often not included with the series, lists over 430 subscribers. Following the success of the floral plates, Furber went on to issue the Fruit plates two years later, the same formula was applied: each plate depicts different arrangements of fruit in bowls, plates or on tables with a total of 364 varieties being displayed. Each variety is linked by a small number to the key at the foot of each image. All the plates are based on paintings by Pieter Casteels (1684-1749) who came from Antwerp and settled in London in 1708. Between 1708 and 1735 (when he retired from painting) Casteels enjoyed great success with his paintings of flowers and more particularly birds executed in a style similar to both Francis Barlow and the Hondecoeters.
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