LONDON – On Thursday, May 9, Bloomsbury Auctions will sell the private botanical library of a Continental gentleman. This fine collection of botanical texts is strong on dendrology, mainly fruit trees and conifers, and includes works on horticulture with a focus on orchids, rhododendrons and camellias. LiveAuctioneers.com will provide Internet live bidding.
Of the many works on fruit and fruit trees, Joseph Antoine Risso’s Histoire Naturelle des Orangers (1818-20) is an especially notable work. With 109 stipple-engraved plates, printed in color and finished by hand, this magnificent monograph of citrus fruits contains drawings of every known variety of orange, lemon and grape-fruit in the style of Redouté and is given an estimate of £6,000-£8,000 [lot 219]. Another prominent work on fruit is Johann Prokop Mayer’s Pomona Franconica (1776-79), which is a study of the fruit gardens of the Palace of Würzburg. With 99 finely hand-colored plates of fruits and flowers, and 11 plain plates of tree pruning, this rare work is estimated at £8,000-£10,000 [lot 170].
Delineations of Exotick Plants Cultivated in the Royal Gardens at Kew (1796-97) by Franz Andreas Bauer is one of the horticultural highlights of the sale. Including parts 1 & 2 of the first edition, which was limited to 90 and 80 copies respectively, this beautifully illustrated flower book is estimated at £4,000-£5,000 [lot 12]. Peter Simon Pallas’ Flora Rossica (1784-88), is a glorious copy of the first great illustrated Russian flora in a fine contemporary French red straight-grain gilt morocco by Bozerian. With 101 hand-colored engraved plates, this work carries an estimate of £6,000-£8,000 [lot 191].
Lutheran minister August Sievert’s early 19th century German florilegium contains over 1,100 original watercolours illustrating both wild and cultivated flowers as well as fruits, mushrooms and herbs. Appearing loose in 26 numbered and labeled wrappers together in a contemporary box, this unique work is estimated at £20,000-£25,000 [lot 248]. In addition there is a number of lots by the Japanese School that showcase the beauty of horticultural illustration—one of which is a collection of 50 watercolors on flowers and plants inscribed in Japanese, estimated at £4,000-£5,000 [lot 130].
Another of the many highlights of the sale is Nikolaus Thomas Host’s Salix (1828-30). This is a magnificent and exceedingly rare monograph of the willow and includes 105 finely hand-colored engraved plates. This work carries an estimate of £12,000-£16,000 [lot 119]. A rare book on dendrology is André Michaux’s Geschichte der Amerikanischen Eichen, (1802-04). With only two copies appearing at auction in the last 30 years, Histoire des Chênes de L’Amerique is scarce found in German and is given an estimate of £4,000-£5,000 [lot 172]. There is also a collection of Woburn catalogs published for John Russell, Duke of Bedford, in the 1820s and ’30s including Salictum Woburnense (1829), which is one of 50 copies, a signed presentation copy from the Duke of Bedford to William Wilkinson, and which is expected to fetch £4,000-£5,000 [lot 230].
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ADDITIONAL LOTS OF NOTE