Thornton’s Temple of Flora


London: Collins, 1951. Facsimile edition. 12 colored plates and 24 collotype plates by Geoffrey Grigson. Biographical notes by Handasyde Buchanan. Quarter tan buckram with buff paper boards and leather spine labels. Unpaginated. 4to. Very good.

Beautifully reproduced copy of the important botanical work of 1799. Volume retains the original’s engravings, with 36 engraved prints, 12 of which are in full color; all are tissue-guarded. Handsome tan buckram, backed with 2 leather labels, and fine pale blue cloth; pastedown cover design faithfully rendered from the 1st issue. The leather labels are chipped; spine with scuffing and occasional wear. Pristine plates and interior.

The most ambitious part of the “New Illustration of the Sexual System of Linnæus” was Part III, the “Temple of Flora” (1799-1807).[3] The first plates were engraved by Thomas Medland in May 1798, from paintings by Philip Reinagle. Between 1798 and 1807, they produced a total of thirty-three coloured plates, engraved in aquatint, stipple and line. When he planned the project, Thornton had decided to publish seventy folio-size plates. Lack of interest from the general public spelled disaster for the scheme, and the holding of a lottery could not save it from financial ruin, neither did a page in the work dedicated to the spouse of George III, Queen Charlotte, patroness of botany and the fine arts.ins the same heightened, intimate tangibility as the shorter narratives and does it in the same kind of weighted, quickening prose.

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