HUGHES, GRIFFITH. 1707-1779.
The Natural History of Barbados. London: for the Author, 1750.
Folio (350 x 233 mm). 10 pp. List of subscribers, 15-line errata printed on verso of final page of preface, and additional errata at the end of list of subscribers. 30 engraved plates (12 after Georg Dionysius Ehret, others by George Bickham, James Mynde and others), 1 folding engraved map of the island by T. Jefferys, occasional engraved headpieces. Modern speckled calf, bound to style. Perforation stamp to title, map torn and repaired and with some creases, spotting, front blank laid onto front free endpaper.
Provenance: Purdue University Library (perforation stamp to title).
FIRST EDITION OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EARLY BOTANICAL WORK ON BARBADOS, WITH PLATES BY EHRET, ARGUABLY THE GREATEST 18TH CENTURY BOTANICAL ARTIST. The Rev. Hughes writes with deserved authority as he was not only a "local" (he was the rector of St. Lucy's parish, Barbados) but was also well-qualified from the scientific point-of-view: he was a fellow of the Royal Society. Despite the title he actually devotes about three quarters of the work to the island's botany. Hunt attributes 12 of the botanical plates to G.D. Ehret [1710-1770]. Wilfred Blunt asserted that Ehret's approach to botanical illustration "was a fine compromise between the artist and that of a scientist: he did not slavishly imitate what he saw nor did he allow his feeling for colour and design to distract him ... from the fundamentals of plant structure." The present work with, according to Hunt, 12 plates by Ehret, demonstrates how successful the artist was at applying fine art to the service of science. Calmann Ehret p 67; Great Flower Books p 104; Hunt 536; Nissen BBI 950; Ripley 140; Sabin 33582; Wood 393.
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