STRUTT, Jacob George (1784-1867)
Sylva Britannica; or, portraits of forest trees, distinguished for their antiquity, magnitude, or beauty. Drawn from nature
London: published for the Author by Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, [no date, but 1830]. Imperial octavo. (11 x 7 1/2 inches). Additional title on india paper mounted with etched vignette, 49 etched plates by Strutt, all on India paper mounted.
Original oatmeal-coloured cloth, rebacked.
Provenance: Edward Kynaston Bridger (d.1898, armorial bookplate); William Russell Grace (1832-1904, armorial bookplate)
An attractive copy of the first octavo edition of this charming work: the deluxe issue with the plates all printed on india paper.
Rather than concentrating on generic descriptions of species of trees (although these are given), Strutt here provides a portrait in words and pictures of 50 of the greatest trees or stands of trees in England and Scotland: a snapshot of the trees as they stood in 1830. "Greatest" is here interpreted by Strutt in various ways: tallest, largest girth, largest spread, oldest, etc. The preponderence of the examples given are oaks (21), but he also includes examples of elm (6), beech (2), ash (2), chestnut (4), cedar (3), yew (3) and one each of lime, poplar, willow, plane, maple, sycamore, Scotch fir, silver fir and larch. This work was first published by Strutt in 1826 in a folio format, and was available by subscription at 9 guineas for the normal issue or for the issue with the plates on india paper 15 guineas (a list of the subscribers to this folio edition is included in the present octavo edition). For the present work, the folio plates were reduced and the folio text was modified to allow for the re-ordering of the trees into more coherant groupings. As with the folio edition, this work was offered in two forms: at £1 11s. 6d. for the normal issue or 3 guineas for the deluxe issue with the plates on india paper (as here). The early owner of this copy, William Russell Grace, the co-founder of W.R Grace and Co., was an American success story who rose from relative poverty to be one of the richest men in the country. He was also a noted philanthropist and served two terms as Mayor of New York.
Lowndes III, p.2534; Nissen BBI 1907.