Quarto (310 x 240 mm.), full calf gilt by Zaehnsdorf, blind and gilt ruled boards, spine with ornate gilt raised bands and very ornate floral decorations, red calf title labels, top edge gilt, a few scratches to binding, slightly rubbed. With engraved title with vignette, Dedication, Advertisement leaf, List of subscribers, List of plates, 65 hand-coloured engraved plates, Appendix, publisher’s advertisement at the end, pp. , 299, .
One of the SIX FIRST FLEET BOOKS and a SUBSCRIBERS COPY. John White (1756?-1832) was the chief surgeon under Governor Arthur Phillip to the settlement at New South Wales and also an accomplished naturalist. This First Fleet arrived in January 1788 and during his spare time White studied the local natural history. White’s first drawings sent back to London were published in Stockdale’s version of Governor Phillip’s own account published in 1793. This work describes and illustrates his findings during his travels in the new colony. It includes an important account of the voyage from London and of other colonial voyages to Norfolk Island. “White”s account contains many circumstances omitted by Governor Arthur Phillip and others. The long appendix is very important as it describes the natural history of the new colony; the first major work of this sort” [Hill]. The natural history plates are of great interest. The book was issued coloured and uncoloured, this being an example of the latter. This example also bears the subscribers list containing seven hundred names which says a lot for the interest in the new colony and the South Pacific. It is also the preferred coloured issue. This is a subscribers copy, that of John Crewe, later Baron Crewe (1742-1829). An MP he became a life long supporter of Chalres Jame Fox. The DNB puts the extent of his support at one point at £12,000 per annum. Provenance: Baron Crewe, Crewe Hall, armorial bookplate. Ferguson 97; Hill (2004) 1858; Howgego (2003) W35; Nissen ZBI 4390; Wantrup 17.