1887 · Troy, N.Y.
by Sprague, Isaac
Troy, N.Y.: Nims and Knight, 1887. Folio. 320 x 230 mm., (12 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches). 48 leaves of text and 10 full-page colored lithographic plates. Original publisher's decorated binding, some minor scrapes to the boards; paper lightly toned by age and one plate with outer margin and corner with small tears; otherwise a very good copy. First edition. Beautifully rendered colored lithograph plates of the botanical work of Isaac Sprague, the "most accurate of living botanical artist . . ." working in the late 19th century. The plates, based on water color drawings, were printed by Nims and Knight, the noted Troy, New York publisher who specialized among other subjects, in illustrated books and botanical art. Sprague was the younger brother of Hosea Sprague the meteorologist and local historian of Hingham, Massachusetts, who at an early age was apprenticed to a carriage painter where his skills were quickly recognized. His ability to translate observed object into drawings caught the attention of James Audubon and in 1840 he accompanied him on his trip up the Missouri River to sketch quadrupeds. Upon is return he was introduced to Asa Gray and began a long collaboration of rendering botanical specimens into drawings for Gray's works. Gray was quoted as saying that Sprague "raised the level of botanical illustration in this country to that of the great European centers." John Galluzzo. Looking Back at South Shore History, from Plymouth Rock to Quincy Granite. Charleston S. C., 2013. G. Edmund Gifford, "The Massachusetts Audubon Letter"' 1975. (Inventory #: 390)