Captain Cook's Florilegium. A selection of engravings from the drawings of plants collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Captain Cook's first voyage to the islands of the Pacific.
COOK Capt. James (1973.)
£7000.00 [First Edition]
Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.
First edition, one of 100 copies, numbered no. 86. 30 uncoloured plates from the original copper engravings (all magnificent impressions). Large 4to. Half black morocco over silk covered boards by Zaehnsdorf, lettered in gilt on upper board, black cloth solander box, text and plates printed on handmade Crisbrooke paper, title printed in gold and black, accompanying text to plates printed in different colours relating to the geographical distribution of the plants illustrated (blue = Australia, brown = Java, green = Society Islands, red = New Zealand, purple = Brazil), subscribers' leaf loosely tipped in at front,and prospectus also inserted. London, Lion & Unicorn Press,
A tour de force of typography and design to celebrate Sydney Parkinson's (c.1745-71) drawings of the collections made by Banks and Solander on Cook's first voyage. Although both Banks and Solander thought extemely highly of Parkinson's work, and had four engravers (John Frederick, James Miller, Frederick Polydore Nodder & John Cleveley) working to produce over 700 copper engravings, none of these plates were ever published. A few rough proof pulls were made for Banks but he never proceeded to the great book on the subject.
In 1900-1905 a series of pallid lithographic reproductions appeared as Illustrations of Australian plants collected in 1770 during Captain Cook's voyage with a text by James Britten (see Stafleu 295). The original coppers remained in storage in the BM(NH) until a few were loaned to the Royal College of Art for the present work. All 738 plates were later issued in Banks' Florlegium, 1980-90, but these were printed in colours, an anachronistic method. Even hand-colouring seems unlikely to have been originally intended, since there is so much detail on the plates. They are here in wonderfully dark, crisp impressions, no doubt as Banks intended. The majority of the copies were subscribed by institutions.
Stock Code: 218536