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English Botany: or, coloured figures of British - James Edward Smith - 1832. 
London : Printed by Richard Taylor for the Proprietor, C. E. Sowerby, 1832 A good copy of the short 2nd edition, complete in 7 volumes, with 1,588 partially hand coloured plates by James Sowerby. In contemporary half leather bindings with gilt compartments and title labels to spines, and marbled boards. The history of the 2nd and 3rd editions of English Botany is a particularly complicated one. After the 1st edition was published (1812), C E Sowerby decided to reorganise the work so that it was more systematic. This second edition began appearing in parts in 1832 to form a 7 volume set. The preface in Vol I refers to the edition as the 'second or small edition' - the reduced size probably being a matter of cost. Confusingly Judith Sowerby added a further 5 volumes in 1842 and then called the initial 7 the 3rd edition and the new 5, the second edition. Given that the work was issued in parts, it follows that there are 2nd edition sets with later title pages on some volumes! And, just to confuse further a true 3rd edition was issued around 20 years later. The 2nd edition can be distinguished by the double plate numbering: the plates have their original 1st edition number and the reorganised 2nd edition number. This set is as follows: Vol I: preface, text and index 87pp; 193 plates and 27 bis plates - dated from the preface, title page states 'second edition'. Vol II: 1849 'third edition', text and index 85pp; 185 plates and 20 bis plates. Vol III: 1836 2nd edition; text and index 105pp; list of supplementary plates; 205 plates and 11 bis plates incl 2 folding; page marker present. Vol IV: 1837 2nd edition; text and index 81pp; errata and list of supplementary plates; 166 plates and 22 bis plates [possibly lacking 2 bis]; page marker present. Vol V: 1838 2nd edition; text and index 126pp; list of suppl plates; 236 plates and 12 bis plates; page marker. Vol VI: 1839 2nd edition; text and index 106pp; suppl plate list; 210 plates and 21 bis plates. Vol VII: 1840 2nd edition; text and index 132pp; 2 lists of suppl plates; 239 plates and 41 bis plates. The bindings are sound but with wear to edges and corners, and general scuffing. All volumes have an ownership signature to the fep. Text pages generally clean with very occasional spotting. Plates vary from exceptionally bright and clean to having brown toning and/or some spotting. The bis plates are particularly prone to the browning/spotting, and they have pencil notes to the titles. Some of the bis plates have nibbled edges suggesting that they may have been tipped in later. There is occasional marking where old bookmarks (and a pressed plant) were kept. One plate has a small repaired tear.
[Bookseller: E C Books]
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