Robert Sweet (1783-1835)
The Florist's Guide, and cultivator's directory; containing coloured figures of the choicest flowers, cultivated by florists. London: Tilling for James Ridgway, 1827-1832. 2 volumes, 8° (240 x 149mm). 200 hand-coloured engraved plates by J.Watts after Edwin Dalton Smith. Later nineteenth century light brown calf gilt by J.Clarke, covers with triple-fillet border, spines in six compartments with raised bands, green morocco lettering-piece in the second, the third with volume numbers on red morocco circles onlaid onto gilt decorated green morocco onlay, the other compartments with repeat decoration in gilt composed of stars and various floral motifs, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, gilt edges.
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF SWEET'S HIGHLY DECORATIVE PRACTICAL GUIDE TO THE CULTIVATION OF MANY OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FLOWERING PLANTS THEN AVAILABLE. Each plate shows a single variety and is accompanied by text giving a taxonomic description and instructions for the plant's cultivation. The work displays a bias towards the Tulip family and includes 61 'biblomen' or multi-coloured varieties. Also included are Carnations (19), 'Picotees' or Dianthus (14), Pinks (18), Ranunculus (38), 'Georgianas' or Dahlias (6), Auriculas (27), Polyanthus (2), Hyacinths (7) and Roses (8). Not included, of course, are any Cistus or Geraniums, both of which were dealt with by Sweet in his two earlier monographs. All but one of the plates are after Edwin Smith (1800-c.1866). Little is known of his early life, but his most productive years were between 1825 and 1836 when, besides his work for Sweet, he also made drawings for Maund's Botanic Garden and the Royal Horfticultural Society. Cleveland 930; Nissen BBI 1925; Great Flower Books (1990) p.143.