Flora Napolitana, ossia descrizione delle piante indigene del regno di Napoli, e delle più rare specie di piante esotiche coltivate ne'gardini.
Napoli, nella Stamperia Francese, 1811-(1838). 5 text volumes & 2 atlas volumes. Folio (text: 455 x315mm.) & (plates: 495 x 410mm.) pp. (6), lxxii, 324; 398; xii, 412; 358, xvi (of xviii); xvi, 379, with 250 hand-coloured stipple engraved plates printed in colours and finished by hand. The first 175 plates in 2 states and printed both on large-paper (495 x 410mm.) as well as on the usual format (455 x 315mm.) and the remaining plates 176 to 250 are printed on the usual format. Contemporary half calf, spines with gilt lettering and ornaments, marbled sides, top edges gilt.
The most splendid Italian flora ever published. The work is a great rarity and there were no copiesin the Arpad Plesh collection sold in 1976 and the de Belder collection sold in 1987, both major botanical collections. Stafleu & Cowan record only 2 copies of this work of which one incomplete. The first 175 plates are printed on large paper with very high finishing of the plates. As far as we could check this is one of the very few copies with plates printed on large paper and with superior colouring. This sumptuous and very costly work was produced under the patronage of Joachim Napoléon Murat, the King of Naples and brother-in-law of Napoléon whose sister Caroline he married. Michele Tenore (1780-1861) was an Italian botanist at Naples, director of the botanical garden and professor of botany. "Flora Napolitana by Michele Tenore was published in fascicles from 1811 to 1838. It consists of five volumes in folio with 250 colour plates. More than 200 new species were validly described most of them still recognized. Flora Napolitana is also of interest since it is the main source of floristic information on southern Italy" (Sergio Sabato. 'Remarks on the publication dates of Tenore's Flora Napolitana' published in Taxon 39(3) p. 409). The work continues the studies of the Neapolitan flora begun by Cirillo, Petagna and Caulini. It not only describes the indigenous plants of Naples but also some of the rare exotic plants cultivated in the Royal Botanical Gardens of which Tenore was the director. The collation of our copy agrees with Stafleu & Cowan with one minor exception. Our copy does not have the last leaf bound in at the end of the 4th volume, which is an additional register and could have been published later. Not included and listed separately by Stafleu & Cowan is the Appendix quarta and quinta, published in a different format and by another publisher. The very fine plates are by Frederigo Dehnhardt, Guiseppe Lettieri and Steurnal, Carlo and R. Biondi and others. The plates and text are both exceptionally clean and fine. A very attractive copy in a fine contemporary binding. A copy in a modern binding in regular folio format was offered by Asher Rare Books in 2000 for Euro 56.000. Great Flower Books p.77; Stafleu & Cowan 13.901; Nissen BBI, 1939.
Item nr. 10007
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