WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854. Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32.
Lot 74
WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854.
Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32.
Sold for US$ 43,750 inc. premium

History of Science

22 Oct 2014, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854. Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32. WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854. Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32. WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854. Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32.
WALLICH, NATHANIEL. 1786- 1854.
Plantae Asiaticae Rariores, or, Descriptions and Figures of a Select Number of Unpublished East Indian Plants. London: Treuttel and Würtz, 1830-32.
Three volumes. Elephant folio (530 x 360 mm). x, [vi], 84; [iv], 86; [ii], [i-v],vi-viii, 117, [1] pp, including 3 page list of subscribers in vol.1, half-titles in vols. 1 & 3, and list of plates in each volume. With 295 full page hand-colored lithograph plates on 294 sheets, and 1 double paged engraved map of India (numbered 296-300). Full contemporary calf, covers with ornate blind-stamped and gilt panels, all edges gilt. Re-backed to style, some light wear to covers and edges, slight bumps to corners; some very light scattered foxing to text in v 1, small spot to plates 132 & 266; a near fine copy.
Provenance: Sir William Young, Baronet, Director of the East India Company (engraved armorial bookplate); Los Angeles based artist Julio Sammarcelli (art-deco woodcut bookplate).

FIRST EDITION OF THIS MAGNIFICENT WORK ON THE PLANTS OF INDIA, financed by the East India Company. Wallich was a Danish botanist who served as the superintendent of the Calcutta Botanical Gardens. The first European to study the plants of Nepal and of the countries south of the Himalayas, he was commissioned by the East India Company to produce this sumptuously illustrated work. While at the Botanical Gardens, Wallich trained several Indian artists to draw botanicals. Almost all of the illustrations in the present work are from the watercolors of the two most accomplished of these artists, with 109 by Vishnu Prasad and 146 by Gorachand, of whom little is known other than the fact that they received the same dismal wages as did the scribes. Their work was of exceptional quality and vibrance, and is "so vivid and vigorous that they make most other plant drawings look insipid by comparison." (Coates, p. 109) Wallich and his artists spent years drawing and collecting specimens. In 1828, he went to England to have the plates for the book printed, bringing with him 1,200 drawings and 8,000 specimens. The result was his magnum opus, an astonishing work which truly captures all of the color, life and variety of the flora of India.
Sir William Young (1807-1876) served in the Bombay infantry as a young man, retiring from the military after obtaining the rank of lieutenant-colonel. He was awarded a baronetcy in 1821, and in 1829 he was made director of the East India Company.

see Blunt, The Art of Botanical Illustration; see Coates, The Book of Flowers; Desmond, The European Discovery of the Indian Flora, p.90; Dunthorne 326; Lack, Ein Garten Eden, 70; Nissen 2099; Plesch 459-60; Pritzell, 9957; Sitwell, Great Flower Books p. 149; Stafleu & Cowan, 16.583

Footnotes

  • THE DIRECTOR OF THE EAST INDIA COMPANY'S COPY
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