4 volumes, folio (16 1/8 x 10 1/4 in.; 410 x 260 mm) Binding: Contemporary diced Russia, covers gilt-ruled and blind-rolled, spines gilt in six compartments, marbled edges (vol. 4 slightly disparate because of its delayed completion). Provenance: John Amory Lowell (bookplate).
Occasional minor foxing, primarily to text, some plates lightly toned, bound without the engraved dedication to the Marquis of Blandford or the one-leaf letterpress introduction. Some wear and rubbing to bindings, rebacked, original spines laid down.
The work was very much the achievement of one man: Andrews not only drew and engraved all the plates "from living plants only," but also wrote most of the text, and according to Dunthorne, also colored the plates himself. The four-volume set was originally issued in parts between 1794 and 1830, a period when interest in "ericas" was at its height, stimulated by the apparently endless stream of plants being discovered and shipped back from South Africa, and nurserymen specialized in cultivating the new arrivals. At the height of "ericamania" large numbers of different varieties were available: in the list bound at the back of volume one, Andrews records that 228 varieties were under cultivation by Messrs. Lee and Kennedy of Hammersmith in 1802.
The first three volumes of the present set were apparently bound up shortly after the completion of the third volume in 1809, and the watermark date of "1829" on the endpapers of the final volume show that it was bound to match shortly after the completion of the work in 1830. Various peripheral leaves can be found in this work, but most sets are without one or more of these leaves—the present set includes the four "systematical arrangements" that were missing from the Plesch copy.
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