THORNTON, ROBERT JOHN. 2 volumes, being volumes 3 and 4 of The Philosophy of Botany:  1. Elementary Botanical Plates Illustrative of the Science of Botany. London: T. Bensley for the Publishers... and the Author, 1810.

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Lot 3133
THORNTON, ROBERT JOHN. 2 volumes, being volumes 3 and 4 of The Philosophy of Botany: 1. Elementary Botanical Plates Illustrative of the Science of Botany. London: T. Bensley for the Publishers... and the Author, 1810.

Sold for US$ 3,355 inc. premium

Fine Books and Manuscripts

23 Jun 2010, 13:00 EDT

New York

THORNTON, ROBERT JOHN.
2 volumes, being volumes 3 and 4 of The Philosophy of Botany:
1. Elementary Botanical Plates Illustrative of the Science of Botany. London: T. Bensley for the Publishers... and the Author, 1810. Letterpress title. Engraved allegorical frontispiece by Ridley after Russell and Opie, engraved portrait and dedication, 26 further portraits of botanists, view of Litchfield Cathedral, and 74 engraved, mezzotint, and aquatint plates of botanical, scientific, and other subjects, 3 double-page or folding. A few plates with light scattered foxing mostly confined to margins, one folding plate with stub-tear, one caption shaved.
2. A New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnaeus [erroneously-placed volume 1 engraved title followed by Illustrations of the Sexual System letterpress part-title]. London: for the Author by T. Bensley, 1799 [some watermarks 1805]. Engraved frontispiece by Bartolozzi and Landseer after Reinagle, engraved and letterpress titles, 89 engraved, mezzotint, and aquatint botanical plates, one folded, 2 double-page, followed by 2 further engraved titles by Vincent after Tomkins (general title ending "Including," second title beginning "The Genera"), letterpress dedication of Part the Second, plate of classes by number of stamen, 3 plates of Analyses and 2 of Explanations of Class 1. Scattered light foxing, a few of the larger plates with captions or image shaved.
Both folio (460 x 320 mm). Period diced russia, covers with elaborate borders tooled in blind and gilt with multiple fillets, and repeated palmette, alpinia and fern tools, inner gilt dentelles with repeated mantlepiece-like devices, spines gilt in compartments lettered with "Thornton's Philosophy of Botany," volume numbers 3 and 4, and date "1810," and with symmetrical arrangements of floral and foliate tools in the others, a.e.g. Extremities rubbed, spine edges more so, joints just beginning to crack.

Rare and finely-bound. Although the majority of the plates are botanic, two depict volcanic eruptions, and two show the harvesting and drinking of tea. Volumes one and two, Botanical Extracts or Philosophy of Botany, not present here, are mostly text with only two engraved plates of portraits and one or two botanical plates. The work is described as a "bibliographer's nightmare" by Stafleu & Cowan, with plate counts and states varying, but the present copies seem to be the later issue. Nissen BBI 1956; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 14284.
See illustration.
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