18 December 2002
ROXBURGH, William (1751-1815). Plants of the coast of Coromandel; selected from drawnings and descriptions presented to the Hon. Court of Directors of the East India Company... Published, by their order, under the direction of Sir Joseph Banks... London: George Nicol, 1795-1819[-20].
3 volumes, 2o (582 x 460 mm). 300 hand-colored engraved plates after various Indian artists, engraved by Mackenzie, Gritin, Peake and Weddell. (Some plates with closed marginal tears, a few with minor marginal chipping, some plates with light offsetting or discoloration, plates 162-164 bound upside down.) Contemporary green half morocco, spines elaborately gilt each with two gilt lettered red morocco spine labels (rebacked, old spine laid down, some edges repaired). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1869; stamps).
FIRST EDITION. William Roxburgh's Plants of the Coast of Coromandel was published by order of the Court of Directors of the East India Company, under the direction of Sir Joseph Banks. "This magnificant work..., originally appeared in twelve parts accompanied by descriptive letterpress." (Henrey). Roxburgh, a noted botanist moved to Madras in 1776 to worked at the General hospital. He was appointed "Botanist in the Carnatic" to the East India Company. He moved to the Northern Circaro, nearly two hundret miles to the north of Madras, and only seven miles form Cocanada. The edge of this hilly region possessed a very interesting flora which Roxburgh studied. From 1793 until 1814 he was Superintendent of the Calcutta botanic garden. The preface to his Plants of the Coast of Coromandel is by Patrick Russell, Roxburghs predecessor in the Company, who also assisted with the editing of the work. Roxburgh was responsible for the description of the plans and oversaw a team of Indian artist who produce 500 drawings which were send to London. Joseph Banks and his Librarien Jonas Dryander selected the illustrations for the publication. Dunthorne 269; Great Flower Books p. 74; Henrey 1289; Nissen BBI 1689; Stafleu and Cowan TL2 9720.
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