SINCLAIR, Isabella (1842-1900)
Indigenous Flowers of the Hawaiian Islands: Forty-Four Plates Painted in Water-Colours and Described by Mrs. Francis Sinclair, Jr2.
London: Sampson Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, 1885. Small folio. (14 1/8 x 10 1/8 inches). pp. 44 chromolithographed plates, printed by Leighton Brothers, each with accompanying text leaf.
Publisher's cloth, upper cover pictorially stamped in gilt
First edition of "One of the most prized of Hawaiian books among collectors" (Forbes): this copy in the original publisher's decorative cloth binding.
In the preface, the author writes: "The following collection of flowers was made upon the islands of Kauai and Niihau, the most northern of the Hawaiian archipelago. It is not by any means a large collection, considering that the flowering plants of the islands are said by naturalists to exceed four hundred varieties. But this enumeration was made some years ago, and it is probable that many plants have become extinct since then." Her wonderfully illustrated work would be the first book dedicated to Hawaiian flora to be illustrated in colour.
Isabella Sinclair (nee McHutcheson), was born in Scotland in 1840, married her cousin Frank Sinclair in 1863 and moved to Hawaii that year. Having studied botany in New Zealand, Sinclair began painting watercolors of the Hawaiian flora, carefully identifying each specimen with its botanical name as provided by Joseph Hooker, along with its natural habitat, its native name and other information.
As Forbes notes, the work was an early example of a perfect binding and as such copies tend to be found loose in their bindings with subsequent damage to the plates and leaves. This example beautifully bound and in very fine condition internally.
Stafleu TL2 12.024; Forbes 3736; Nissen 1848; Great Flower Books p. 76.