12 parts bound in 3 volumes, folio (21 1/2 x 14 1/2 in.; 546 x 368 mm, uncut). Binding: Early twentieth-century half morocco gilt, spines gilt in six compartments, green buckram covers, top edges gilt, by William Brown of Edinburgh.
Internally clean and fresh. Some wear to bindings, vol. II upper cover with gouge on right edge and some discoloration at lower edge.
A worthy successor to William Roxburgh, Wallich served as superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Garden from 1817 to 1846. The present work was prepared for publication by Wallich during a leave of absence in 1828. Because of ill health, he had returned to England bringing with him a collection of about 8,000 dried specimens as well as 1,200 original watercolor drawings executed from life. The majority of the specimens had been collected by Wallich himself during trips to Nepal, Western Hindustan, Ava, and lower Burma, but he also benefited from the explorations of his contemporaries. Their names and the areas they explored are recorded on the map at the end of the third volume. In the production of the original drawings, Wallich employed the talents of many of the same artists that had worked for Roxburgh, the two most notable being Vishnupersaud (or Vishnu Prasad, whom Blunt calls the most "talented of the native Indian artists") and Gorachand (or Gorchand).
Wallich's Plantæ Asiaticæ was seen as an extension of Roxburgh's Plants of the Coromandel Coast (London, 1795–1820) and was undertaken with the enthusiastic support of the East India Company, who subscribed to 40 copies. It was published by subscription in 12 parts, priced at £2 10s per part, between September 1829 and August 1832. Wallich writes in his preface, "The present Work consists of a selection of plants made chiefly from a series of 1200 drawings, executed under my direction by Native Artists." The translation of the drawings onto stone was carried out by the Maltese-born Maxim Gauci, perhaps the greatest of the early lithographers of botanical subjects. Wallich thanks him for his contribution in the "Postscript," and more unusually, goes on to acknowledge the contribution of the colorist John Clark: "For both these worthy men and admirable artists I beg to express my sincere respect."
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