Flora of North America. Illustrated by Coloured Figures
BARTON, William P. C. A Flora of North America. Illustrated by Coloured Figures, Drawn from Nature. Phila.: M. Carey & Sons, 1821-1823. 1st eds. 4tos. 3 Vols. xix,5,138; x,107; vii,,100pp. 106 engraved plates printed in color and finished by hand (including 2 folding). Modern 3/4 red leather and boards, gilt-ruled spine. Small stain to foot of rear board of Vol. One, some offsetting from a few of the plates and some light scattered foxing, else a very good set. Dunthorne, Flower & Fruit Prints 26. Nissen (BBI) 84. Bennett, p.9 (incorrect plate count). Taxonomic Literature 326. Pritzel 446. Meisel III, p.385. Reese, Stamped with a National Character 11. Sabin 3858. Stafleu & Cowan TL2 236. BM (N) I, p.105. Dunthorne 26. An important American flora, "magnificently illustrated" (DAB) with "Plates [that] are clear, soft and lovely" (Bennett). The work includes the first successful use of stipple-engraving in the United States. In addition to its significance as a botanical work, Barton's...FLORA... is also one of the most important early color plate books entirely produced in the United States. "The plates were made by [among others] Cornelius Tiebout, the first really skilled engraver born in the United States, although he trained in London for two years in the 1790s to perfect his technique"-Reese. Barton states in the advertisement to the first volume that some of the "plates are printed in color, and are afterwards colored by hand. It is confidently believed by the author, that they will be found the most successful attempts at imitation by sound engraving, of the French style, yet made in this country." He goes on to note that the method of color printing was the result of "repeated experiments" owing "to the impossibility of obtaining information as to the manner of colouring abroad." The text gives details of each species, its Latin binomial, common name, and class and order according to the Linnaean system, followed by interesting information about the history of the discovery of the species and details about its geographical range. Barton, the nephew of Benjamin Smith Barton, was appointed a naval surgeon in 1809 and remained on the Navy's list throughout his life (he was buried with full military honors in Philadelphia in 1856). "In 1815 Barton was chosen professor of botany at the University of Pennsylvania.