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Flora Australasica; or a selection of handsome or curious plants, natives of New Holland, and the South Sea Islands..
London: James Ridgway, 1827. A few scattered age spots otherwise very good.. Royal octavo, with 56 engraved plates in fine contemporary handcolouring; a fine, large copy, bound in handsome quarter green morroco, marbled boards, top edge gilt. First edition; one of the most attractive of all Australian botanical books and the first with illustrations taken from live specimens rather than dried plants or field sketches - the species depicted having been grown from seeds in London nurseries. This experimentation directly resulted from Joseph Banks's methods and indicates how widely his influence had spread.This was the third illustrated work devoted to the botany of Australia (the first was James Edward Smith's of 1793, and the second Bauer's exceptionally rare Illustrationes Floræ Novæ Hollandiæ of 1813). Sweet's book represents a departure from its two predecessors. As a horticulturist, rather than a scientific botanist or botanical artist, he was more interested in the cultivation than the classification of exotic plants. During the last ten years of his life he published a number of botanical works which catered for the educated English public in the same way as Paxton's and Curtis's botanical magazines.No fewer than nine plants are distinctly noted as having been collected in western Australia, chiefly from the vicinity of King George's Sound (modern Albany). A further 16 are noted as from the "south coast of New Holland", with the majority of the rest coming from around Port Jackson and Tasmania. Sweet includes, where possible, field notes on the plants, and it is interesting to see that a large number were collected in Australia personally by the little-known William Baxter, gardener to one Francis Henchman Esq. of Clapton Nursery. Baxter had been sent out by Henchman with the express view of collecting plants in remote regions.This is a fine and fresh copy of the book, with bright handcolouring to the plates, which were drawn by one of the finest botanical artists of the day - Edwin Dalton Smith of Chelsea, for many years attached to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In style it bridges a gap between late-eighteenth-century botanical art, generally of a most "refined" nature, and the nineteenth-century variations, which led to the often less exquisite lithograph.
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2017-12-17           Check availability:      Biblio    

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