Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…. COOK: SECOND VOYAGE, Johann Reinhold and Georg FORSTER.
Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…
Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…
Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…
Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…

Characteres Generum Plantarum…
Characteres Generum Plantarum, quas in itinere ad insulas maris australis, collegerunt, descripserunt, delinearunt, annis 1772-1775…

London: B. White, T. Cadell & P. Elmsly, 1776.

Quarto, with 78 engraved plates (numbered 1-75 and including 38a & b & 51a); contemporary mottled calf, spine decorated and lettered in gilt in compartments between raised bands, marbled endpapers and red edges, a fine copy.

Pioneer work on the botany of Australia and the South Pacific

First edition: one of two contemporary issues, probably the first, with the longer dedication to George III. This was the first scientific work – in fact one of the earliest publications of any kind – published as a result of Cook's second voyage. The Forsters, father and son, travelled as scientists on the second voyage, and took on Anders Sparrman as their assistant at the Cape of Good Hope in 1772. The book is a Linnean classification of botanical discoveries made during the voyage; the descriptions are by Sparrman and the engravings are after drawings by the younger Forster. As one of the earliest sources for our knowledge of the plants of Australasia and Polynesia, it represents the foundation work for New Zealand, Australian Antarctic and Polynesian botany.

First edition: one of two contemporary issues, probably the first, with the longer dedication to George III. This was the first scientific work – in fact one of the earliest publications of any kind – published as a result of Cook's second voyage. The Forsters, father and son, travelled as scientists on the second voyage, and took on Anders Sparrman as their assistant at the Cape of Good Hope in 1772. The book is a Linnean classification of botanical discoveries made during the voyage; the descriptions are by Sparrman and the engravings are after drawings by the younger Forster. As one of the earliest sources for our knowledge of the plants of Australasia and Polynesia, it represents the foundation work for New Zealand, Australian Antarctic and Polynesian botany.

As well as being one of a surprisingly small number of monuments to the major scientific achievements of Cook's voyages, the Characteres was one of the earliest publications resulting from the second voyage; the previous year Marra's surreptitious narrative had been published, while in 1776 only this and the anonymous Second Voyage round the World appeared. In 1777 both the Forsters' narrative and the official account by Cook were published, along with Wales' and Bayly's Astronomical Observations, followed a year later by the Forsters' Observations. The rush to get it into print should probably be seen in the light of the quarrel with the Admiralty over the Forsters' claims to publishing rights for the official account of the voyage. This pre-emptive scientific publication may well have been intended to show the strength of the Forster camp.

Cook's second voyage generated an enormous collection of new genera and species: "This work is botanically important as containing a large number of new generic and specific names relating to plants of Australia and Polynesia. It appears that in the preparation of this undertaking the Forsters were able to use the fine natural history library belonging to Sir Joseph Banks, and to seek the advice of his librarian Daniel Solander. Furthermore, they had free access to Banks and Solander's collections made on Cook's first voyage (1768-71) to the Pacific, and to Solander's manuscripts' (Henrey II, p. 167).

Beddie, 1385; Hill, 627; Holmes, 17; Hunt 649; Nissen, BBI, 644; Pritzel, 2981; Rosove, 139.A1 ("very scarce").

Condition Report: Spine lightly rubbed but very good.

Price (AUD): $14,000.00

US$10,180.63   Other currencies

Ref: #5000281

Condition Report