PRINTED FROM THE ORIGINAL COPPER-PLATES
Banks, Joseph & Solander, Daniel: CAPTAIN COOK'S FLORILEGIUM. A selection of engravings from the drawings of plants collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander on Captain Cook's first voyage to the islands of the Pacific, with accounts of the voyage by Wilfrid Blunt and of the botanical explorations and prints by William T. Stearn. Lion and Unicorn Press 1973. Large imperial folio, First Edition; pp. [ii](half-title, verso blank), very fine engraved frontis. printed from the original 18th Century copper-plate, preceded by leaf of descriptive text, pp. [ii](title, verso colophon), [iv](Contents & List of Plates, last blank), (The voyage, including half-title, verso blank), (The botanical explorations, last blank, including half-title, verso blank), (bibliog. & half-title to plates, versos blank), 29 very fine plates printed from the original 18th Century copper-plates, each preceded by a leaf of descriptive text, pp. (Index to plates, verso colophon & limitation note, last 2 blank); list of subscribers to the standard edition loosely inserted; finely hand-bound by Zaehnsdorf in half Nigerian goatskin with Japanese silk paper sides (the edges of the latter just beginning to fray, as often), and French grooves; enclosed in the original felt-lined black buckram Solander box (the box slightly marked); a fine copy; very scarce. [London]; Lion and Unicorn Press; 1973. ***Edition limited to 100 numbered standard copies of which this is number 94, and ten special copies, with an additional 12 plates. Prior to the publication of this work, none of the original copper-plates had ever been published as engravings, although pulls had been made from some of the plates so that they could be reproduced by lithography for Hooker's Flora Antarctica and other works, as well as some 320 of the total 738 plates which were reproduced in 1900 also by lithography.
For this book however great care was taken to print from the plates in the original manner intended and to do justice to the fine original eighteenth-century engraving by printing with inks of appropriate richness to the highest standards of copperplate printing. Great difficulties were experienced with the ink and the project, commenced in 1962, was not finally completed until 1974 but the result is magnificent. It remains the only publication to be printed from the original copper plates in the manner intended by the engraver. Both text and plates were printed on Crisbrooke handmade paper by J. Barcham Green. The text was handset by Alfred Page and printed by Harold Greenway and Michael Perry at the Royal College of Art. The plates were printed by Thomas Ross & Son, London and by Michael Rand of the Royal College of Art from the original copper-plates engraved for Joseph Banks and held in the British Museum (Natural History). The captions for the plates and the accompanying text by William T. Stearn and Daniel Solander are printed in different colours to identify the different regions from which the specimens came. Thirteen of the plates are of plants from Australia, eight from New Zealand, four from the Society Islands, three from Brazil and two from Java. An account of the travails of production is given in the accompanying book (see below). The work was oversubscribed before publication and of the 100 standard copies nearly half were subscribed by institutional libraries. [with]
Law, Joy. CAPTAIN COOK'S FLORILEGIUM. A note on its production. Cr. 4to, First Edition; pp. 32; 3 mounted plates (2 coloured), 9 small specimens of printing experiments for the plates, 5 other illustrations, lists of subscribers to both standard and special editions; original quarter morocco; a fine copy. (London); Lion and Unicorn Press; 1976.