Description des Plantes de l'Amerique. Avec leurs Figures
by PLUMIER, Charles (1646-1704)
Paris: de l'Impremerie Royale [pars les soins de Jean Anisson], 1693. Folio. (16 3/4 x 10 5/8 inches). Half-title, title with engraved arms. Engraved headpiece and initial on A1. 108 engraved plates. Contemporary French red morocco, Royal arms of France in gilt on both covers, spine with raised bands in seven compartments, lettered in the second compartment, the others with a repeat overall decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers, gilt edges Provenance: C.B. Lengrich (bookplate); Andrés Sperry (bookplate) Rare first edition of an important botanical Americanum: this copy bound in contemporary red morocco with arms. Among the most celebrated botanists of the second half of the 17th century, Plumier is best remembered for his three botanizing voyages to the Americas. "Le Pere Plumier, a monk of the order of St. Francesco di Paula, was an important botanical traveller. Tournefort and he became friends and they herborized together throughout the Midi. After that, Plumier's travels included the Antilles and several long voyages to other islands in the West Indies and to America, where he discovered, drew, and described hundreds of new plants, many of which are shown in his own books" (Hunt). After his death in Cadiz in 1704, Plumier left behind a voluminous collection of manuscripts and drawings. The present work is Plumier's first publication, which records the results of his first of three voyages to the Americas. Plumier discovered, drew, and described hundreds of new species in the French Antilles, including many accurate descriptions and depictions of plants not previously identified. The plates, all after drawings by Plumier himself, principally comprise ferns, but also include Arum, Aroideae, clematis and passion flowers. Plumier's published works, coupled with his impressive corpus of original drawings, form one of the most important archives on American botany. Many of Plumier's own drawings would later serve as the taxonomic type specimens by Linnaeus and others, making the illustrations of considerable nomenclatural importance. The present example is sumptuously bound in contemporary red morocco with the arms of France on the covers, most likely a deluxe or presentation copy. Alden & Landis 693/137; Hunt 389; Nissen BBI 1544; Sabin 63455; Stafleu & Cowan TL2 8066.
(Inventory #: 31300)
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