18 December 2002
MARTYN, John (1699-1768). Historia plantarum rariorum. London: Richard Reily, 1728[-1738].
2o (535 x 355 mm). Imprimatur leaf of Sir Hans Sloane as President of the Royal Society, title printed in red and black, large engraved and mezzotint headpiece and initial at opening of preface, 50 mezzotint plates printed in colors and finished by hand, engraved by Elisha Kirkall after paintings by Jacob van Huysum, W. Houstoun, Massey, G. Sartorys and R. Sartorius (without the engraved plate of dedication to the Royal Society, some occasional very minor soiling). (Few minor marginal repairs.) Modern brown half leather, marbled boards. Provenance: Pymme's Library (bookplate); Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Stickney Fund (bookplate dated 1879; stamps).
FIRST EDITION. A TALL COPY OF THE FIRST BOTANICAL BOOK ILLUSTRATED WITH COLOR-PRINTED PLATES. The work is devoted to new species growing at the Chelsea Physic Garden and the Cambridge Botanic Garden. Published in five parts over ten years, each decade of letterpress and plates begins with a headpiece vignette and an ornamental large initial. Most of the plates are printed in two colors, and each is dedicated to a patron-subscriber with an engraved coat-of-arms or monogram. Martyn apparently intended the work to be continued periodically as further specimens were introduced, but the publication ceased after the fourth 'decade' due to lack of support. Dunthorne 194; Great Flower Books, p. 67; Henrey 1016; Hunt 476; Nissen BBI 1289; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 5563.
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