WILHELM, GOTTLIEB TOBIAS. Unterhaltungen aus der Naturgeschichte des Pflanzenreiches. Augsburg: Martin Engelbrechtschen Kunsthandlung, 1810-1821.
10 vols., small 8vo, 175 x 105 mm., contemporary German red straight-grained morocco gilt, smooth spine ruled in six compartments with green and black morocco gilt-lettered labels in two, single stamp of a gilt urn in four compartments (urn stamp of vol. 8 quaintly different), board edges gilt, blue or green glazed endpapers, g.e., head of spine of vol. 10 with small split and inner upper joint slightly cracked, some other very minor binding wear, former library marking removed from engraved titles or from following leaves, part of a fly-leaf cut from vol. 5, sheets browned in vol. 7.
FIRST EDITION. 10 engraved title-pages by P.I. Laminit, engraved portrait of Wilhelm by Laminit in vol. 2 and 609 handcolored engraved plates by Paul Martin Wilhelm and others (58, 66, 68, 62, 68, 62, 52, 60, 46, 66). The work constitutes the botanical series in Unterhaltungen, a 25-volume work of which vols. 16-25 treat the Pflanzenreich, separately numbered 1-10, and published as a set.
A fine copy of this charming handbook-sized encyclopaedia. The handcoloring of the plates is of a truly remarkable high standard and the subject of the illustrations is extremely wide ranging: as well as a very wide variety of flowers, fruits and trees, there are representations of threshing practices, sugarmaking in the West Indies, volcanoes, garden designs, instruments and ornaments, and many attractive landscape and figurative scenes.
Nissen BBI 2152 (incorrect plate count, noting 60 plates in vol. 7 instead of 62); Pritzel 10272 (incorrect plate count, noting 616 plates); Stafleu & Cowan TL2 17.638 (listing the plate numeration which conforms with our copy but with incorrect addition, noting 614 instead of 608 plates).
Provenance: Kenneth K. Mackenzie; Horticultural Society of New York, bookplates -- Robert de Belder (sale, Sotheby's London, 28 April 1987, lot 381). (10)