Barton, William Paul Crillon. A rare uncolored issue of an important American flora, richly illustrated
BARTON, WILLIAM PAUL CRILLON
A FLORA OF NORTH AMERICA, ILLUSTRATED BY COLOURED FIGURES DRAWN FROM NATURE. PHILADELPHIA: VOL. I: M. CAREY & SONS; VOL. II & III: H.C. CAREY & I. LEA, 1821-1822-1823
3 volumes, 4to (10 1/2 x 8 3/4 in.; 267 x 222 mm). "To Subscribers" leaf (vol. II), 106 uncolored engraved plates, 1 of which folding, from drawings by Barton, Cornelius Tiebout (29), G.B. Ellis (32), F. Kearney (23), J. Boyd (7), J. Drayton (6), C. Goodman (6), Jacob J. Plocher (2), and J.L. Frederick (1); lacking half-titles, plate 63 in bound as two plates (vol. II), small rust hole in plate 80 (vol. III). Contemporary half red morocco over marbled paper-covered boards, flat spines divided into compartments by pairs of gilt fillets, gilt lettered in the second and numbered in the fourth, the others elaborately decorated in gilt; overall rubbed, hinges weak or splitting.
Very rare uncolored issue of an important American flora, "magnificently illustrated" (DAB)
In addition to its significance as a botanical work, Barton's Flora is one of the most important early colour plate books entirely produced in the United States. "The plates were made by (among others) Cornelius Tiebout, the first really skilled engraver born in the United States, although he trained in London for two years in the 1790's to perfect his technique" (Reese). This uncolored issue is noteworthy as Barton states in the advertisement to the first volume that some of the "plates are printed in colour" —none of the plates in the present volume show signs of color, which suggests that this is a variant issue to those used in the colored version, and not merely plates that were not hand-colored in this country. It is possible that the present lot constitute early experimental issues of the plates, produced before the combination of color-printing and hand-coloring was arrived at.
"In 1815 Barton was chosen professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania, charming many with his light-hearted herborizing trips along the Schuylkill and his lectures which were, contrary to bookish times, demonstrated in his well-stocked conservatory" (DAB). His botanical publications, which appeared over a relatively short span of nine years, began with his Flora Philadelphicae prodromus (1815) and culminated with the present work (1820-24).
The first successful use of stipple-engraving in the United States
BM(NH) I:105; Bennett 9 (incorrect plate count); Dunthorne 26; Nissen BBI 84; MacPhail, Benjamin Smith Barton and William Crillon Barton 19; Meisel III:385; Pritzel 446; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 11; Sabin 3858; Stafleu & Cowan, TL2 236
Abraham Bloodgood (booklabels); Daniel Bartlett Beard (author, conservationist and first superintendent of the Florida Everglades national Park, armorial bookplates)
Condition as described in catalogue entry.
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