Exotic Botany: consisting of coloured figures, and scientific descriptions of such new, beautiful, or rare plants as are worthy of cultivations in the Garden of Britain; with remarks on their qualities, history, and requisite modes of treatment…The figures by James Sowerby. James Edward SMITH, James SOWERBY.
Exotic Botany: consisting of coloured figures, and scientific descriptions of such new, beautiful, or rare plants as are worthy of cultivations in the Garden of Britain; with remarks on their qualities, history, and requisite modes of treatment…The figures by James Sowerby
Exotic Botany: consisting of coloured figures, and scientific descriptions of such new, beautiful, or rare plants as are worthy of cultivations in the Garden of Britain; with remarks on their qualities, history, and requisite modes of treatment…The figures by James Sowerby

Exotic Botany: consisting of coloured figures, and scientific descriptions of… new, beautiful, or rare plants…
Exotic Botany: consisting of coloured figures, and scientific descriptions of such new, beautiful, or rare plants as are worthy of cultivations in the Garden of Britain; with remarks on their qualities, history, and requisite modes of treatment…The figures by James Sowerby

London: R. Taylor & Co., 1804-5.

Two volumes in one, octavo, 120 engravings with fine original hand-colouring; many folding, contemporary calf with gilt Greek-key border to the sides, spine gilt-decorated with red title-label, well rebacked, edges fully-gilt.

With numerous Australian species described for the first time

First edition: this beautiful botanical publication includes thirty-eight Australian species, the majority of which were not included in Smith's earlier Specimen of the Botany of New Holland (1793), and many of which are figured here for the first time. Like the earlier work, this is "of great importance to the botanist for the excellence of their figures and descriptions, and for the number of species not previously described in any published work" (Henrey II, p. 182). The drawings on which the engravings were based were made by James Sowerby from live specimens grown in England from seeds sent from Australia, or from drawings and specimens supplied from New South Wales by John White the First Fleet surgeon.

First edition: this beautiful botanical publication includes thirty-eight Australian species, the majority of which were not included in Smith's earlier Specimen of the Botany of New Holland (1793), and many of which are figured here for the first time. Like the earlier work, this is "of great importance to the botanist for the excellence of their figures and descriptions, and for the number of species not previously described in any published work" (Henrey II, p. 182). The drawings on which the engravings were based were made by James Sowerby from live specimens grown in England from seeds sent from Australia, or from drawings and specimens supplied from New South Wales by John White the First Fleet surgeon.

Smith's notes on each plant often give a glimpse of the tremendous fascination with "Botany Bay" plants at the time. Specimens are derived, for instance, from the gardens of Lady Hume at Wormleybury, the greenhouse of the Dowager Lady de Clifford, or the grounds of the Marquis of Blandford. Several others have come from the famous exotic plant specialists in London, Lee & Kennedy. Throughout, Smith and Sowerby show themselves to be up-to-date regarding the latest botanical discoveries, and they are thorough in their attempts to clarify current designations by comparing specimens with those held in great collections such as that of Sir Joseph Banks. There are several discussions of plants noticed by Ventenat at Malmaison, including some polite disagreements, but they show their respect by naming a hitherto non-descript species as the "Ventenatia" (plate 66 & 67; long since shortened to "Ventenata"). Smith writes: "I am happy to dedicate so distinct and curious a New Holland genus to the honour of a botanist who has so much illustrated the plants of that country as M. Ventenat has done".

Although not as well-known as the earlier Specimen, this is, in part, because of its scarcity. The book appears only in the Ferguson Addenda (noting copies in the Nan Kivell collection, NLA; the South Australian Royal Geographical Society; and the Turnbull Library in New Zealand).

The last Australian plant noticed here is the Arethusa catenata, which includes a curious note. Smith writes that he has been sent the specimen by White, and goes on to say that he has also seen the drawing by Bauer, that is about to be illustrated "by the accurate pen of Mr. [Robert] Brown, now Clerk and Librarian to the Linnæan Society, and we will not anticipate his discoveries, nor execute imperfectly what he has so much better materials for completing. We shall therefore in general decline the publication of New Holland plants for the future, except we should want to elucidate any particular point to which we may have given peculiar attention, or any thing that may want explanation from the gardens." Bauer and Brown, of course, sailed with Flinders.

Provenance: With an intriguing early pencilled inscription "A M Barnard from Lady Smith", perhaps a gift from Pleasance, Lady Smith, wife of the author (1773-1877) to her great niece Alicia Mildred Barnard (1825-1911) a plant illustrator and a member of the Botanical Society of London.

Dunthorne, 288; Ferguson, 397a; Great Flower Books, p.140; Henrey, 1341; Nissen BBI, 1858; Stafleu, 1241.

Price (AUD): $17,500.00  other currencies Ref: #4505172