LAMBERT, Aylmer Bourke (1761-1842)
A Description of the Genus Pinus, with directions relative to the cultivation, and remarks on the uses of the several species: also descriptions of many other new species of the family Coniferae. Plates.
London: James Bohn, 1842. Folio. (21 1/2 x 14 5/8 inches). 93 hand-coloured engraved plates (including 7 plates of views of trees in landscapes, 86 plates of botanical details,) after Ferdinand Bauer, J. Sowerby, J.T. Hart and others, engraved by Warner, Mackenzie, J. Sowerby, E.S. Weddell, Quiroz and others.
Expertly bound to style in half purple morocco over original purple cloth covered boards, flat spine in six compartments, lettered in the second and third, the others with a repeat overall decoration in gilt
A fine copy of Lambert's masterpiece: the ultimate edition, including spectacular plates after Ferdinand Bauer.
Only a few copies of this edition, published by James Bohn, appear to have been printed and no other copies are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years. It was the first edition to gather all the plates into a single large-format volume (with a separate octavo text volume not present here) thus eliminating any possibility of problems with the text offsetting onto the image area.
The majority of the plates are after Ferdinand Bauer, who with his brother Franz "may well claim to be the greatest of all botanical draughtsmen. Their skill in execution of detail is miraculous, yet they never lost sight of the wood for the trees; everything is understood, balanced, controlled ... The splendid illustrations to [the present work] ... deeply impressed Goethe ... The botanical draughtsman was no longer the mere recorder of floral beauty; he now had the more difficult task of serving both Art and Science" (Great Flower Books, p.37).
The earliest edition of this work, with the fewest number of plates, was published in two volumes between 1803 and 1824. It then appeared in various formats with varying numbers of plates until the Bohn issue of 1842. According to Henrey the largest number of plates found is 103 in a 3-volume folio edition published by George White between 1837 and 1842 (although Nissen gives a plate total of 117 for the same edition). The present example has one more plate than the Lindley Library copy described by Henrey.
Lambert's work is of primary importance as a record of the genus Pinus, and is often cited in subsequent works. However as Renkema and Ardagh point out, the somewhat haphazard way in which the work was published means that these citations are often contradictory and to gain a full understanding of the information given by Lambert it is essential to have access to not just one but all of the main editions, culminating with the present work.
Great Flower Books (1990) p.111; Henrey III, 925; cf. H.W. Renkema & J. Ardagh 'Aylmer Bourke Lambert and his "Description of the genus Pinus"' in Journal Linnaean Society London, Botany (1930) vol.48, pp.439-466; cf. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 4146.