Folio (550 x 370 mm.) contemporary green half morocco, green cloth boards, gilt ruled, spine with raised bands, gilt ruled compartments with gilt title, gilt edged, some scuffing. Half-title, 51 nature-printed plates, all printed in colours by Bradbury & Evans, tissue guards, illustrations in the text, occasional spotting,
The first edition of Henry Bradbury’s chief work and a fine example of NATURE PRINTING. Bradbury (1831-60) was the eldest son of William Bradbury of Bradbury & Evans who published the present work in 17 monthly parts from June 1855 to September 1856. Bradbury had learned the technique whilst studying under Alois Auer at the Imperial Printing Office, Vienna. The text was supplied by Thomas Moore, who was the curator of the Chelsea botanic garden. It was edited by John Lindley (1799-1865). This famous book was one of the first nature-printed books printed in Britain. Lindley in his Preface calls the work the “first English attempt at applying Nature-Printing to Botanical sciences”. He also stated that for the plates to have “the necessary accuracy, the art of a Talbot or a Daguerre was insufficient, nor could they be represented pictorially until Nature-Printing was brought to its present state of perfection”. There were numerous claims to the patent and invention of the technique and Bradbury was heavily embroiled in it all. So much so that it is quite possible that it led to his death aged 29 when he committed suicide by drinking acid. Fischer 89-91; Hardie (1906) pp. 223-30; Nissen BBI 1400; Pritzel 6405; Stafleu & Cowan 6275.