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Captain Cook's Florilegium. A selection of engravings from the drawings of plants collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Captain Cook's first voyage to the islands of the Pacific, with accounts of the voyage by Wilfrid Blunt and of the botanical explorations and prints by W.T. Stearn [with] Captain Cook's Florilegium: A note on its production by Joy Law, 1976.
London: Royal College, 1973. Large folio, with 30 engravings; a fine copy, in the original black Nigerian goatskin and Japanese silk, housed in a protective buckram case. One of the finest botanical productions of all time. The Royal College of Art's printing of these original eighteenth-century copper-plates appeared in an edition of only 100 numbered copies on specially handmade paper, presented in a specially designed binding by Zaehnsdorf of London. The edition was fully subscribed long before it was completed.When Cook's first voyage returned to London, the original botanical drawings were made into detailed and accurate paintings under Banks' supervision, with reference to the collection of actual specimens. Following this they were engraved, and we know that Banks intended to oversee full publication of the collection of engravings. In fact, only a proof impression was made and the undertaking abandoned. The British Museum (Natural History) holds the original copper-engraved plates, as well as the drawings and specimens themselves, and a set of the proof impressions made from the copper-engravings.Between 1900 and 1905 lithographic copies were made of 318 of these proof impressions and published as "Illustrations of Australian Plants collected in 1770". The copper-plates themselves remained unused, until in 1960 it was decided that the Royal College of Art should print a selection of the most beautiful. The result, after thirteen years of planning and trials, was this splendid production, which for the first time showed the extraordinary strength of the images. Perfectly printed, rich impressions in strong black ink, they show the important botany of the Cook voyage to great advantage, and at the same time make it a matter for regret that no eighteenth-century edition appeared.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House]
Last Found On: 2016-03-19           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    

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