ELWES, Henry John (1846-1922), and Augustine HENRY (1857-1930)
The Trees of Great Britain & Ireland
Edinburgh: privately printed, 1906-1913. 15 parts bound in 8 volumes, quarto. (12 1/4 x 10 inches). 8 half-titles, 6pp. list of subscribers, 8pp. errata. 7 coloured titles, coloured frontispieces in volumes I-V (one chromolithographed), photogravure portrait frontispiece of the authors in vol.VII, 413 plates (373 photogravures, 40 uncoloured lithographs). With original wrappers bound in the rear of the Index vol.
Contemporary red half morocco by R.H. Porter, gilt spines, top edges gilt.
Provenance: Frederick du Cane Godman (bookplates)
First edition with distinguished provenance of Elwes and Henry’s comprehensive work recording every species of tree grown outdoors in Great Britain and Ireland at the time of publication.
A valuable record of trees from around the world: with a significant number of examples from China, Japan, the Mediterranean and the Americas. All illustrated by very fine photogravures, most showing specimen trees in gardens in the British Isles, but with a number of images showing the species in their native habitats. The work is known for its use of a new system of plant identification devised by Henry for the publication. It remains an important botanical resource to date and Henry is often credited with significantly increasing the understanding of the flora and fauna of China, previously little-known among botanists in the British Isles. It was published by subscription; the exact number of copies printed is not known but the subscribers' list runs to 244 names, with a further 12 individuals or institutions receiving a presentation copy. Elwes and Henry took John Claudius Loudon's Arboretum Et Fruticetum Britannicum; or, the trees and shrubs of Britain (7 vols, London: 1835-1838) as their starting point. Loudon recorded every tree of note in the British Isles, and after a period of over half a century when most of the specimens had suffered considerable neglect, Elwes returned to examine Loudon's trees anew and to record subsequent introductions. 'In taking stock of the results, the task which my friend Mr. Elwes has set himself differs ... from that which Loudon accomplished. That amounted to little more than a descriptive catalogue ... The present work aims at ascertaining the practical results [of growing various species]. What are the most favourable conditions for the growth of each species? What in turn are the most suited for different circumstances? And what, if any, profit can be derived from their cultivation on a large scale?' (W.T. Thistleton-Dyer writing in the 'Preface').
BM(NH) VI,p.300; Nissen BBI 595.