MICHAUX, François André (1746–1802) and NUTTALL, Thomas (1786–1859). North American Sylva; Or a Description of the Forest Trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia. Philadelphia: Robert P. Smith, 1853.

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MICHAUX, François André (1746–1802) and NUTTALL, Thomas (1786–1859).

North American Sylva; Or a Description of the Forest Trees of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia.


Philadelphia: Robert P. Smith, 1853.

 

Two works in 6 volumes, 8vo (10 x 6 in.; 25.4 x 15.2 cm). Michaux: 156 handcolored engraved plates, many after Redouté and Bessa, half-title in vol. 2 only; staining and toning to about 20 plates. Nuttall: 121 handcolored lithographed plates; moderate foxing and/or staining to text and plates. Contemporary deluxe publisher’s black calf, covers with elaborate gilt borders of intertwined fillets and arabesques, fine central gilt emblem of Jalap bindweed, yellow-coated endpapers, edges gilt; skillfully rebacked to style.

 

THE MOST IMPORTANT WORK ON AMERICAN TREES PRIOR TO THE 20TH CENTURY. Originally published as separate works, these titles merged into a regularly produced combined work of six volumes beginning in 1851. The Michaux contains 156 color plates, as called for on the title-page — six more plates than in previous issues. "It is no exaggeration to remark that it is the most complete work of its kind, and is a production of unrivalled interest and beauty” (Sabin). Michaux’s work is based on his travels in the eastern half of America, and those of his father, from the 1790s on. Thomas Nuttall travelled extensively in the Mississippi Valley and the Far West in the 1820s and 30s to gather botanical specimens. Designed to supplement Michaux, Nuttall’s work covers new species he had gathered in the Midwest and West as well as eastern species overlooked by his French counterpart. REFERENCES: Bennett, p. 76; Nissen BBI 1361; Oak Spring Sylva 20; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 21; Sabin 48695. PROVENANCE: Harriet M. Rowland (gift inscription by her uncle Amos Wickersham dated 1854). 65ERM0161