THORNTON (JOHN) New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus, 3 parts in 2 vol., 1810
Lot 572
THORNTON (JOHN) New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus, 3 parts in 2 vol., 1810
Sold for £22,500 (US$ 37,779) inc. premium
Lot Details
New Illustration of the Sexual System of Carolus von Linnaeus: Comprehending an Elucidation of the Several Parts of the Fructification; a Prize Dissertation on the Sexes of Plants; a Full Explanation of the Classes, and Orders, of the Sexual System; and the Temple of Flora, or Garden of Nature, Being Picturesque, Botanical, Coloured Plates, of Select Plants, Illustrative of the Same, with Descriptions, 3 parts in 2 vol., 2 engraved general titles, 5 parts titles, 3 dedication leaves, leaf of contents, 5 engraved leaves of "Analysis" and "Tables", 27 engraved portraits (including 2 of Linnaeus, one full-length in Lapland dress), 31 colour-printed aquatint and mezzotint plates finished by hand to "Temple of Flora" (with "Auriculas" [2 plants], "Queen Flower", "American Aloe" and "American Bog-plants"), 91 uncoloured engraved botanical plates, one uncoloured allegorical plate, blindstamp erased from 5 text leaves, early half morocco gilt, te.g., worn [Nissen BBI 1955; Dunthorne 301; Great Flower Books, p 143; Stafleu & Cowan 14283], folio (600 x 475mm.), T. Bensley, for the Publisher, [1799]-1807-[1810]


  • THE TEMPLE OF FLORA IS THE MOST CELEBRATED ENGLISH BOTANICAL BOOK. "At the heart of the New Illustration was Thornton's scheme to produce a specifically British botanical publication of a magnificence to surpass all previous examples. Teams of master engravers and colorists, including Francesco Bartolozzi, Richard Earlom, and John Landseer, used the full range of modern printing techniques to produce colored illustrations after paintings by such prominent artists as Sir William Beechey, James Opie, Henry Raeburn, John Russell, Abraham Pether, and his two favoured illustrators, Peter Henderson and Philip Reinagle" (ODNB). Thornton intended the work as a visual celebration, enlivened by prose and verse text, of the sexual system of Linnaeus. Originally issued in parts the cost and complexity of the project left Thornton exhausted and facing bankruptcy with only 28 of the planned for 70 plates produced.
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