Important collection of Banks' Florilegium - Number 56/100. ...



$100,000 - $150,000


Important collection of Banks' Florilegium - Number 56/100. Florilegium was published between 1980 and 1990 in 34 parts by Alecto Historical Editions and the Natural History Museum, London. Only 100 sets were made available for sale. This set is number 56 of that original printing. In detail it is a collection of copperplate engravings of plants collected by Sir Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander while they accompanied Captain James Cook on his first voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771. They collected plants in Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the Society Islands, New Zealand, Australia and Java. During this voyage, Banks and Solander collected nearly 30,000 dried specimens, eventually leading to the description of 110 new genera and 1300 new species, which increased the known flora of the world by 25 per cent.
Banks' and Solander's specimens were studied aboard the Endeavour by the botanical illustrator Sydney Parkinson. He made 674 detailed drawings of each specimen with notes on their colour, and completed 269 watercolour illustrations before dying of dysentery after the Endeavour left Batavia. When they returned to London in 1771, Banks employed five artists to create watercolours of all of Parkinson's drawings, and 18 engravers to create 743 copperplate line engravings from the completed watercolours at a considerable cost. The engraving work stalled in 1784, and the Florilegium was not printed in Banks' lifetime. On his death in 1820 he bequeathed the plates to the British Museum.
The plates were printed using a 17th-century technique known as à la poupée where each colour was applied directly to the plate; colour accuracy was checked against Parkinson's notes and through consultation with the museum's Botanical Editor, Chris Humphries. Each plate took from one week to two months to proof. Chris Humphries worked closely with his colleague, the Botany Librarian Judith Diment, as well as the printers led by Edward Egerton-Williams, the typesetters led by Ian Mortimer and colleagues at Alecto Historical Editions including Nigel Frith, Laurence Hoffman and Elaine Shaughnessy. Parts 1 to 15 consist of 337 plates relating to the Australian flora, parts 16 to 34 include Brazil, Madeira, New Zealand, Java, Society Islands and Tierra del Fuego. Banks’ Florilegium is the world's largest 20th-century fine art printing project, and has been exhibited all over the world.
The Alecto Historical edition of Banks' Florilegium was purchased in Australia by the State Library of Victoria,& the State Library of New South Wales, and the State Library of Queensland. This set contains the following Print numbers,- 11 unopened boxes 516-743 227 plates - Editions 338 to 515 complete (177 plates. Incomplete 46-337 containing 271 plates. Total 675 from the set

Auction Date: 29th Oct 2023 at 11am

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Sale Dates:
29th Oct 2023 11am (Lots 1 to 236)

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