London: Printed for John White, Horace's Head, Fleet-Street, 1807. Full Calf. English-language edition of the Enlightenment philosopher's Lettres Elementaires sur la Botanique a Madame de L, first published posthumously in his Works, in Geneva, in 1782. Preface and Introduction by Martyn, with eight letters by Rousseau followed by twenty-four further letters by Martyn. Thick crown 8vo (203 x 121mm): xxiv,503,[27,indices of English and Latin names, orders of plants, and botanical terms]pp, with folding table and 38 inserted leaves of finely colored plates engraved by Frederick Polydore Nodder. (The plates were first published separately by Martyn in 1788, for readers wishing illustrations of the plants the letters discuss, under the title Thirty-eight plates, with explanations; intended to illustrate Linnaeus’s System of vegetables, and particularly adapted to the letters on the elements of botany, and thus the first two editions of the Letters (published 1785 amd 1787) had only the folding table, and even in subsequent editions, through the eighth and last of 1815, the plates often were not inserted.) Contemporary tree-calf boards skillfully rebacked to style, black morocco lettering piece gilt, end papers renewed. Wanting the half-title, pages moderately age-toned and foxed throughout, but tightly bound and with excellent coloring of the plates. Henrey II, pp. 55-56, 654 and III 1028 and 1287). Hunt 687 and 732. Sitwell, p. 118. Nissen (BBI) 1292. Pritzel 6627. Very Good +. Item #BB0215
Seventh Edition, with corrections and improvements, of this illustrated explanation of the famous Linnean botanical classification system. Translation of Rousseau's letters is by Thomas Martyn (1735-1825), professor of botany at the University of Cambridge. According to Martyn, the letters were not meant for reading while sitting in an easy chair but were directed at readers with plant in hand, which, in effect, the beautifully colored plates provide. The lady to which the title refers was Madame Delessert, mother of French financier Benjamin Delessert (1773-1847) and a keen botanist and owner of a famous herbarium and botanical library. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable mylar sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed. (Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics.).