BATEMAN, JAMES | The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala. London: J. Ridgway & Sons for the author, -1843.
Estimate: 60,000 - 80,000 USD
The Orchidaceae of Mexico and Guatemala. London: J. Ridgway & Sons for the author, -1843.
Folio (28 3/4 x 20 3/4 in.; 730 x 531 mm). Lithographic pictorial title, 40 hand-colored lithographic plates drawn on stone by P. Gauci after Miss S.A. Drake (16), Mrs. Augusta Withers (21), Miss Jane Edwards (1), Samuel Holden (1), and one unsigned, one uncolored plan of an orchid house, with 38 wood-engraved vignettes, two by George Cruikshank, 1p. subscriber's list, addenda and corrigenda slip bound at back; some light foxing, title mounted. Contemporary brown half morocco over boards bound by Hering, all edges gilt; rebacked to style, contemporary spine laid down, corners renewed, some rubbing to boards.
First edition. One of 125 copies. "The largest, heaviest, but also probably the finest orchid book ever issued" (Great Flower Books). "Bateman's giant folio eclipses the works of all who went before or came after him. Gauci, who executed the forty lithographs (thirty-seven of which were made from drawings by Mrs. Withers or Miss Drake), was a true master of the process: his tone ranges from the palest of silvery greys to the richest velvet black; his outline is never mechanical or obtrusive; and the hand-coloring is executed with consummate skill. In this book, the great orchids of central America live for us in all their glory" (Blunt, The Art of Botanical Illustration). The book also has the odd distinction of being the only botanical work with illustrations by George Cruikshank, one of which parodies the volume's massive bulk and the inconvenience thus caused to librarians.
Great Flower Books 48; Nissen, BBI 89; Pritzel 470; Stafleu TL2 342
Louisa Barbara, Lady Rolle, Bicton, Devonshire, one of the original subscribers (monogram bookplate); Christie's New York, Jun 8, 1990, lot 206, $42,000
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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