London: printed for the author; and sold by most booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland, 1750. First Edition. Three-Quarter Sheep. Scarce Large-Paper Issue of perhaps the most important botanical work on Barbados, a book to "place beside Catesby's Natural History" (Hunt), sumptuously produced and beautifully illustrated. Folio: ,vii,,250,*251-*254,251-314,pp, complete with 30 full-page copper-engraved plates, many after Georg Dionysius Ehret (1710-1770); folding map of Barbados by Thomas Jeffreys (c.1719-1771), geographer to George III; large engraved headpieces (including 'A Prospect of Bridge-Town in the Island of Barbadoes') and woodcut tailpieces and initials; list of subscribers and a slip containing errata to that list pasted to verso of p.vii (as called for in the large-paper issue, but without the final errata leaf found in the ordinary paper issue). Rebound to style in three-quarter brown sheep over marbled boards, spine with six raised bands blind-tooled in compartments, original morocco gilt lettering piece laid down. Faded ink stamp of Lehigh University library, dated 1884, with manuscript deaccession note to top of title page (but no other library marks anywhere). Small round former owner's stamp with monogram 'MB.' Title page and several preliminary leaves with margins browned and edges expertly strengthened with Japanese tissue. Repaired closed tear to bottom margin of dedication leaf (not affecting text). Offsetting from plates; occasional light foxing or spotting, with somewhat stronger foxing to pp. 4-25 and *251-3 and plates 2 and 3. Withal, an excellent copy. Sitwell (Great Flower Books), p.60. Hunt 536. Nissen BBI 950. Sabin 33582. Wood (McGill), p.393. Calmann, Ehret: Flower Painter Extraordinary, p.67. Near Fine. Item #BB0715
Hughes was rector of St. Lucy's parish in Barbados when he observed firsthand or collected reports from the field from "Persons of known Veracity" of every specimen described in his natural history. The work is primarily devoted to the island's botany and dendrology—of its twelve 'books', or chapters (not ten as stated on the title page), eight are dedicated to trees, shrubs, and plants, ordered according to physical appearance: Nuciferous (nut-bearing), Pomiferous (fruit-bearing), Pruniferous (bearing plum-like fruit), and the like. Hughes provides a physical description of each plant, followed by notes on the edibility of the fruit or nuts and its uses. Also included is a seven-page glossary of "Botanical and Technical Terms," supplied largely by "the accurate Mr. Miller of Chelsea" (presumably Philip Miller, foreman of the Chelsea Physic Garden). Among its many original contributions, the book is credited as the first to describe grapefruit and to coin the term 'yellow fever,' although the link to the mosquito came much later. Many of the finely engraved plates, which include depictions of palm trees, bananas, a pineapple, the male and female Pawpaw, some fishes and crustacea, are after drawings by one of the greatest 18th-century botanical painters, G. D. Ehret (Hunt speculates that a number of the unsigned plates may also be by or after Ehret). Each of the 30 plate is dedicated to a different patron or subscriber and includes an engraved coat of arms of the aristocratic or scholarly dedicatee. N. B. With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition. 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.).