Rome, Bouchard et Gravier, 1772-1780.
6 large folio volumes (out of 8) [515 x 370 mm] of: I/ (4) ll., 1 portrait, xiv pp., viii, 1 double-page map, 30 pp., 100 numbered plates; II/ (3) ll., 1 portrait, vi pp., 22, 100 plates; III/ (2) ll., 1 portrait, iv pp., 18, 100 plates; IV/ (3) ll., 1 portrait, 21 pp., 100 plates; V/ (3) ll., 20 pp., 100 plates; VI/ (3) ll., 1 portrait, 18 pp., 100 plates. A total of 8 illustrated colored titles, 5 portraits, 1 double-page map and 600 plates. Wormtrack in the lower margin on 20 pages of the 5th part. A few browned plates. Bound in contemporary half roan, vellum corners, spine ribbed and decorated with gilt filets, mottled edges. Contemporary binding.
Rare first edition and first state of this superb botanical treatise illustrated with 600 colored plates. Jackson, Guide to the Literature of Botany, 320; Nissen BBI 200; Stafleu 122; Pritzel 976; The Library of the Stiftung fur Botanik n°78; Great Flower Books, p. 51; Dunthorne 45; Hunt 629 (volumes 1 to 5 only).
Even though the present work is generally attributed to Bonelli, the latter only contributed to a part of the 1st volume. The rest of the work has been published by Niccolo Martelli thanks to the descriptions provided by Liberato and Constantino Sabbati. Giorgio Bonelli (1742-1782) was an Italian physician and a professor of medicine in Rome. He arranged the first volume according to Tournefort’s system.
Nissen quotes the original leaflet announcing the printing of 300 copies, of which only a small number was meant to be colored. “It is not likely that this number was reached, certainly not for the later volumes (volumes 6-8 are very scarce)” (Stafleu). The last three volumes, of which few copies were printed, are rarely found assembled to the previous ones: the Hunt copy and the one of the Library of Congress only include the first 5 volumes; the one of the British Library includes 7 of them.
Blunt considers the present work as an “impressive work”. As for Dunthorne, here is how he describes it: “engraved in an unusually broad manner, well-coloured with opaque colours, producing extremely decorative plates, noteworthy among which are those of melons, cucumbers, gourds, pineapple, aloes, tulips, datura, etc. ”.
The superb illustration is composed of 600 full-page plates by Maddalena Bouchard after Cesare Ubertini’s drawings. A precious copy, one of the rare ones which entire’s set has been contemporary hand-colored. The 600 plates depicted here in vivid shades are inserted into elegant blue painted frames.
A very beautiful wide-margined copy and printed on thick paper of this stunning very sought-after work of botanic.