Historia Plantarum Rariorum. Centuriae primae Decas 1-4 (of 5).
London, R. Reily, 1728 (-1737?). Folio (515 x 355 mm). pp. (6), iv, 42, including the engraved dedication leaf to the Royal Society, title printed in black and red, large engraved and mezzotint headpiece and initial printed in black and green at the opening of the preface, 40 mezzotint plates printed in colours and finished by hand, engraved by Elisha Kirkall after paintings by Jacob Van Huysum, Massey and G. Sartorys. Contemporary calf, later rebacked spine with red gilt lettered label.
A fine copy of the first 4 parts without the final part with 10 more plates. It is the first botanical book illustrated with colour-printed plates. It is devoted to new species growing at the Chelsea Physic Garden and the Cambidge Botanic Garden. 'The work is of particular interest as it contains some of the earliest examples of colour-printing from a single metal plate. These plates were executed by Kirkall in a mixture of line engraving - for the titles and the coat of arms of the dedications - etchings, and mezzotinting. Many of the prints in the 'Historia' are printed in green but some are printed in two or more colours from a single plate at one impression. All were afterwards touched by hand' (Henrey II, p. 53). 30 of the fine plates are after Jacob van Huysum, a flower painter born at Amsterdam. He worked in England from about 1721 and was the brother of the famous Dutch flower painter Jan van Huysum. Each plate is dedicated to a patron-subscriber with an engraved coat-of-arms or monogram.The plates depict plants from Cape of Good Hope (a few Pelargosiums and a Mesem), North America and the West Indies. Great Flower Books, p. 118; Nissen BBI, 1289; Dunthorne 193.; Gunn & Codd, Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa, 63.
Item nr. 5959
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