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Plate 7.   Vol 1
Herb Paris

 


Plate 831.   Vol 12
Long-rooted Cat's Ear

 



Plate 1.572.   Vol 22
Pear-shaped Bog Thread Moss

 



Plate 2,442.   Vol 33
Raspberry


ENGLISH BOTANY - Volume 1

James Sowerby with Text by James Edward Smith F.L.S.
Published in Parts; London 1790 - 1792

PLATES 1 - 72 WITH TEXT AND INDEXES.

The first successful attempt to describe and illustrate in colour all the herbs, grasses, trees, lichens, mosses, ferns and algae then known to be native to Great Britain and Ireland. The 36 volume work, comprising 2,592 hand-coloured plates with text and indexes, was published over a period of 24 years commencing December 1790.

 

Very few complete sets were assembled as most subscriptions lapsed before publication was completed. It appears that less than ten complete, first edition sets remain in existence today, mostly in extremely poor condition. The images seen here were photographed directly from a complete, surprisingly well preserved, privately owned copy.

 

Two supplements by Sowerby's son, James de Carle sowerby comprising 204 additional, mainly uncoloured plates, were publiushed up to 1835 but do not appear to have survived intact.

 

A recent auction catalogue (12 September 2018) lists the complete work plus supplements issued in 83 parts up to 1865 with hand-coloured plates to number 2,999. This is a most unexpected discovery as these would have been, in part at least, concurrent with the second and third editions.