1786 · [London]
Edwards lived in London until about 1778 when he moved to Surrey, exhibiting at the Society of Artists, of which he was a member, and at the Royal Academy. In addition to the fine arts, he also provided designs for textiles, particularly cotton calico. Between 1769 and 1770 he published Edwards British Herbal in monthly parts, with text garnered from the works of contemporary botanists and 100 fine hand-coloured engraved plates from his own designs. The plates show that his interests lay not so much in the accurate depiction of botanical specimens as the design possibilities of beautiful flowers. The present work, his masterpiece, was his next publishing venture. Working from the imprint dates of the plates it is clear that he began to publish designs for the work in 1783, with plates being completed periodically throughout the 1780s and well into the following decade. Unlike his previous work, all the plates are designed, etched and coloured by Edwards himself, a process which gave him complete control over the publication.
Cf. Dunthorne 105; cf. Great Flower Books (1990) p 93; cf. Henrey III 673; cf. Nissen BBI 579; cf. Oak Spring Flora p 64. (Inventory #: 10009)