Author [Botany and Slavery] Botanical specimens. Copied from Nature, And designed as simple illustrations of the twenty-four classes, into which, according to the Linnaean System of arrangement, all plants are divided.
Published 1827
Item ID 73326
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Liverpool, George Smith, 1827. Small square folio (22.2 x 18.1 cm). Engraved title (i.e. front wrapper, on blue paper) mounted on thick paper; 24 engraved and finely hand-coloured plates on paper of various thicknesses; blue paper blank, letterpress title page; 21 pp., second blue paper blank; rear wrapper, mounted on thick paper. Turn of the 19th century iridescent silk boards; gilt title on the spine. All edges gilt. These fine illustrations were published with a double aim, viz. educational: to instruct ladies how to paint flowers, and philanthropic: "The first fifty pounds arising from the sale of the work will be given to the Ladies Society for Promoting the Early Education and Improvement of the Children of Negroes, and of People of Color in the British West Indies." (stated on the front wrapper). The philanthropical aspect is interesting: slavery in the British Empire was not abolished until seven years later, in 1834. Slavery within the United Kingdom had already been abolished in 1772. Wrappers a bit soiled, first plate mildly spotted; otherwise a very good, complete copy. In 1828 it was reprinted, but that edition is very rare too. OCLC reports one copy in Kew, and three in American libraries, and a few more of the 1828 edition. None in continental Europe or elsewhere. We have seen one other copy, in much poorer condition. Freeman, British Natural History Books , 414 (2nd [1828] edition only). Not in any major botanical bibliography. A botanical rarity with a link to slavery