18 December 2002
SCHOTT, Heinrich Wilhelm (1794-1865). Icones aroidearum. Vienna, 1857 [-1859].
2o (518 x 350 mm). Lithographic title page and 40 hand-colored lithographic plates, some only with main subjects colored (few with some minor pale browning or spotting). Original cloth, gilt-lettered on front cover (light wear to extremities, hinges a little weak). Provenance: Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1888; stamps).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS BEAUTIFUL WORK ON THE ARACEAE. Schott, a Moravian-born Austrian botanist, was the son of Heinrich Schott who was the head gardener under J.F. von Jacquin of the University botanical garden in Vienna. The younger Schott went to Mexico with Maximillian. Although a number of botanists, in addition to Linnaeus, worked with Araceae prior to the early nineteenth century, Heinrich Wilhelm Schott was the earliest to specialize almost exclusively with Araceae, commonly called Aroids. He began his studies in the late 1820s and continued until his death. Schott's role in the Araceae would be difficult to surpass. He described most of the larger genera, including over one-third of those genera currently in use. The sometimes beautiful and sometimes bizarre combination of spathe and spadix known as the inflorescence, and sometimes referred to as a "flower," is a distinguishing feature of all aroids.
According to Great Flower Books, only plates 1-30 were hand-colored; Stafleu & Cowan record that by the time of publication of the first 3 fascicles, it was advertised as being available either colored or in black-and-white. The present copy shows very fine hand-coloring to each plate, although approximately half of the plates are incompletely colored to some degree. All of Schott's works are very SCARCE, with none appearing in American Book Prices Current in at least thirty years. Great Flower Books, p.75; Nissen BBI 1792; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 11.047.
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