One of the most important work on mushrooms with 440 colored engravings. SOWERBY, James. Coloured figures of English fungi or mushrooms. London, printed by J. Davis and sold by the Author, 1797-1803, (1809)
3 volumes in-folio, 322x202 mm; Contemporary half-morocco binding, marbled cardboard, spine with gold titles and ornaments, gilt upper edges, marbled endpapers. 110 uncoated sheets with title pages, indexes and explanatory text. 440 numbered engravings on 436 leaves; joined in one table the engravings 422-423 and 439-440, the engraving 427 joined to the 425 and indicated with the numbers 1 and 2, as reported in the explanatory text. The 440 engravings are all hand-coloured, almost all pulled on cardboard, in first issue. Heraldic ex libris 'Gharlard Castle'. Excellent state of conservation, fresh exemplary.
First edition. The most attractive illustrated English work on mycology ever published, and a famous classic in its field. Our copy includes the rare supplement which is often lacking: this supplement, published in 1809, contains the suite of plates ranging from 401 to 440. It was Sowerby himself who did the drawing and engraving of the plates, which are all beautifully handcoloured. James Sowerby sometimes printed the plate in a colour other than black. Henry: “James Sowerby dedicated his 'Coloured figures of English fungi' to Sir Joseph Banks and J.E. Smith jointly. ‘To the first of these gentleman' - wrote Sowerby - I have great obligations for granting me access to the first library in the world, as well as most ready assistance in any enquiry whatever relating to natural history’”. A fine and unusually fresh copy without any foxing to the plates. Pritzel, 8888; Nissen BBI, 1874; Stafleu & Cowan 12.490; Henry, British Botanical and Horticultural Lit. II, p. 263. About the author, see: Diction. of scientific biography, XII, pp. 552-53. Stafleu & Cowan 12.490.