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Lot 277: ROSCOE, WILLIAM. Monandrian Plants of the Order Scitamineae, Chiefly Drawn from Living Specimens in the Botanic Garden at Liverpool.

MAPS & ATLASES; NATURAL HISTORY; PLATE BOOKS

by Swann Auction Galleries

December 8, 2016

New York, NY, USA

Live Auction
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Description: ROSCOE, WILLIAM. Monandrian Plants of the Order Scitamineae, Chiefly Drawn from Living Specimens in the Botanic Garden at Liverpool. 112 lithographic plates hand-coloured by George Graves, after Thomas Allport, Rebecca Miller, Margaret Roscoe, Mrs. James Dixon, Ellen Yates, Emily Fletcher, Mary Waln and unidentified "native artists." Large folio, 21 1/4x16 1/2 inches, contemporary green morocco gilt, covers with a gilt decorative roll tool border surrounding a large central arabesque blocked in blind, expertly rebacked to style, minor rubbing and scuffing; mild offsetting and foxing to the plates, small light dampstain to final plate, but no major faults. Provenance: armorial bookplate of James Stamford Caldwell. Liverpool: George Smith, [1824]-1828

Notes: A fine copy (with a family connection) of this spectacular work, limited to 150 copies. Roscoe''s masterpiece was originally issued in 15 parts and the focus of the work is on a selection that is now considered part of the Zingiberales order of flowering plants. The order, which is almost exclusively tropical in origin, includes the canna lilies, arrowroot, ginger and turmeric. Roscoe provides 1 or 2 pages of text for each specimen, giving the plants a technical binomial description followed by a fuller more general description, and ending with observations such as where the plant is from, who has described it previously, and often when the drawing of the plant was made. The characteristic leaf shapes and flower-sprays provide the numerous artists of the work with some spectacular originals to work from. Helpfully, Roscoe identifies all but one of the artists, with the majority of the images having been provided by Thomas Allport. The plates are important relatively early lithographs which are attributed by Roscoe to George Graves, but they are almost certainly "actually printed by Hullmandell, though Graves may have placed the commission for Roscoe" (John Collins writing in the Plesch catalogue). Collins earlier notes that although Graves specialised in colouring natural history plates, he is not known as a lithographer. This copy is from the library of James Stamford Caldwell, the brother of Roscoe''s daughter-in-law Hannah, wife of Roscoe''s eldest son. Dunthorne 267; Great Flower Books (1990) p.133; Johnston 948; Nissen BBI 1677; Stafleu & Cowan 9505.

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