Item #5000907 James Edward SMITH, James SOWERBY.
SMITH, James Edward and James SOWERBY.
SMITH, James Edward and James SOWERBY.

Three botanical illustrations from the first published work on Australian botany.

London: James Sowerby, 1793.

Three finely hand coloured engraved plates with their descriptive text 270 x 200 mm.

Fine botanical plates of Australian species

Superb hand coloured engravings by James Sowerby prepared for A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland (1793) by James Smith. This landmark work included the first illustrations of a number of Australian species, including the three offered here: Embothrium sericeum, Embothrium buxifolium and Pimelea linifolia. According to a note in the preface of the full published work, the drawings on which the fine hand-coloured plates were based were done in the colony by John White, the Surgeon-General, who was a keen amateur natural history artist and collector.

Superb hand coloured engravings by James Sowerby prepared for A Specimen of the Botany of New Holland (1793) by James Smith. This landmark work included the first illustrations of a number of Australian species, including the three offered here: Embothrium sericeum, Embothrium buxifolium and Pimelea linifolia. According to a note in the preface of the full published work, the drawings on which the fine hand-coloured plates were based were done in the colony by John White, the Surgeon-General, who was a keen amateur natural history artist and collector.

The period of European settlement in Australia was also a time of fine book production in Europe; the wide public interest in natural sciences meant that the illustrated books published during the period were not only factual but often exceptionally beautiful. In the Preface to smith he states that this work is "An Attempt to make the Public acquainted with some of the productions of a country of which they have lately heard so much, and in which they are now so deeply interested… The illustrations were prepared not only from drawings supplied from Sydney but also from the "most copious and finely preserved collection of dried specimens…" that came with them from New South Wales.

James Edward Smith was one of the leading naturalists in England and the author of several outstanding botanical books. In 1788 he founded, and was the first President of, the Linnean Society which became a meeting place for botanists and a significant reference source as Smith had, for the Society, acquired the collections and library of the famous Swedish naturalist, Linnaeus.

Sir Joseph Banks was a close colleague of Smith, and James Sowerby (1740-1803), the artist of these superb plates, was one of the foremost botanical artists, who exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy. The collaboration between these great naturalists ensured that Australia's first illustrations of our unique flora were among the finest of the late eighteenth century.

Ferguson, 170; Nissen, 1861; Sitwell and Blunt, 'Great Flower Books', p. 76.

Condition Report: In original fine condition

Price (AUD): $4,750.00

US$3,078.64   Other currencies

Ref: #5000907

Condition Report