DOWNING, ANDREW JACKSON
The Fruits and Fruit Trees of America; or, The Culture, Propagation, and Management, in the Garden and Orchard, of Fruit Trees generally....
New York: Wiley & Putnam, 1847. xiv,594pp. plus sixty-seven colored lithograph plates.
Modern black morocco, spine gilt. Light scattered foxing, but plates generally clean, with tissue guards.
With beautiful color plates of American fruits.
The first edition to contain colored plates of "the standard American pomological authority" (Hedrick). A.J. Downing and his brother, Charles, revolutionized both American landscape gardening and American fruit growing in the 1840s, the latter with the publication of this book in 1845. This 1847 edition employs the same plates, but it is printed on larger paper and adds the handsome color plates which only appear in this edition and one issued in 1850. After A.J. Downing's death, the book went through some twenty editions in the 19th century under Charles' editorship. The text makes no reference to the lovely plates of apples, pears, cherries, plums, berries, and other fruits, and as Plesch says, they "seem to have crept into the volume by stealth." The Plesch copy and the one recorded by Bennett each contain only sixty-nine plates; however, we have handled copies with varying numbers of plates, and this copy has sixty-seven. The plates were actually produced in Paris and shipped to America to be bound with the book. The final product is a lovely and important volume.
Bennett, p.35; Hedrick, p.486; Meisel III, p.441; Oak Spring Pomona 60; Plesch Sale 219.