Lot 381: 3 Vols: Watercolors by M. F. Lewis, 1860-1902.
December 1, 2016
Falls Church, VA, USALive Auction
Description: [Watercolors] 3 Vols containing ink and watercolors on paper, most with preliminary pencil sketching. Several hundred images are available: please contact us for additional photographs of portfolio. The ink and watercolors are by [Miss] M. F. Lewis, a woman who pursued a strong interest in mycology and gained scientific knowledge. Hundreds species of fungi are shown on over 100 sheets. The fungi shown are mostly from Shropshire and the neighboring counties in Wales. Many of the drawings and watercolors are dated (1860-1902). Nearly all of the specimens are identified, usually with a genus and species name, sometimes also with the place where they were found. A small number carry a common name. Lewis places a greater emphasis on the color, shape, and natural beauty of the fungi than on scientific use. The sheets that carry the watercolors and drawings are mounted or tipped to the leaves of the volumes. Almost all sheets show multiple species of fungi as separate images. There are a small number of instances where multiple sheets appear on the same leaf, or where 1 watercolor has its own sheet. Each volume has a watercolor title page, mounted to a leaf of the volume,as is true of the fungi. Titles and date ranges of watercolor titles are as follows: ++ Vol 1: FUNGUSES. De. M F Lewis inked at lower left. March 27 1866 at lower right. Watercolors with dates are mostly 1860-1862, a few later. ++ Vol 2: FUNGI. 1862-1872, at least 1 carries a subsequent pencil notation dated 1874 in M. F. Lewiss hand. ++ Vol 3: FUNGI COLLECTED IN SHROPSHIRE AND OTHER NEIGHBORHOODS. 1886 inked at lower corner. Those watercolors and drawings which are dated are 1873-1902. ++ 4to. Contemp red ½ leather and cloth. Bookbinders label at corner of 1 endpaper: C. Wooley, Bookbinder, Ludlow. Woolley advertised bookbinding services in 1867. Woolley published Ludlow Town and Neighborhood in 1889, and published Historical Sketch of Stokesay Castle in 1921. Bindings have surface wear and stress to hinges, 1 front hinge fully broken. Many sheets loosening from their leaves, some separated, especially in 3rd volume. Staining to covers and leaves provided by the binder, sometimes affecting watercolors. 2 vols have tear to title leaf, occasional tear to the sheets that carry watercolors. Placed in are several carbon copies and photocopies from a previous owner, listing the labels Lewis used for the fungi. Sold with all faults. 15.6 Lb.