HOOKER, JOSEPH DALTON. 1817-1911.
The Rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya; Being an Account, Botanical and Geographical, of the Rhododendrons Recently Discovered in the Mountains of Eastern Himalaya, from Drawings and Descriptions Made on the Spot, During a Government Botanical Mission to that Country. London: Reeve and Co., 1849-. Elephant folio (520 x 372 mm). 14, 7, ; 30 hand-colored lithographed plates by Walter Hood Fitch. Nineteenth century burgundy cloth, rebacked, with new endpapers, housed in recent custom moire clamshell box. Minor soiling to cloth, neat repair to cloth at upper spine, plates clean and bright.
A VERY NICE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF HOOKER'S IMPORTANT WORK ON RHODODENDRONS, with 30 fine hand-colored engraved plates and facing letterpress descriptions for each. "An important work both for the botanist and horticulturalist since it contains descriptions and plates of many of the best garden rhododendron species which can be grown in this country and an account of their discovery" (Great Flower Books).
Hooker explored central and eastern Himalaya extensively during 1847-1849, including a trip into Sikkim during which, "even after pressure from the British administration forced the diwan to submit, he obstructed their [the exploratory party's] progress in various ways. He particularly urged them not to cross the northern border with Tibet during their explorations, but Hooker and Campbell knowingly ignored his order and the border violation was used by the diwan as a pretext to arrest and imprison them in November 1849. The British government secured their release within weeks by threatening to invade Sikkim" (ODNB). Nissen BBI 911; Great Flower Books, p 60; Pritzel 4200.