BROOKSHAW, George (1751-1823). Pomona Britannica or a Collection of the Most Esteemed Fruits at Present Cultivated in Great Britain... London: Bensley and Son, 1817.

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Volume I only (of 2). 4o (336 x 270mm). 30 engraved plates by Brookshaw only, printed in colour and finished by hand (title lightly spotted, some spotting in text, a few plates with few light spots, stronger on plate 27, plate 13 a little dust-soiled, colour at 2 places a little smeared on plate 5, most plates very lightly and evenly browned). Contemporary crimson morocco, covers with wide border, tooled in gilt and blind, spine ruled, lettered and decorated in gilt (head of spine chipped, scuff mark on front cover), gilt edges.


Second edition. A landmark 19th-century British botanical book, Brookshaw's 'Pomona Britannica' was first published in large folio format between 1804 and 1812, intended to rival Thornton's 'Temple of Flora'. Equally distinctive to that publication, it is the finest English work on fruit. This smaller format edition is an imposing book, carefully prepared and produced, and this copy is exceptionally fine. The illustrations, which show the fruits then grown in and around London, especially at the Royal Gardens at Hampton Court, are remarkable for their technical virtuosity. The prints depict various fruits and nuts from trees, as well as melons, berries, and grapes, and often include the details of flowers and leaves. The elegantly arranged and richly colored fruits emerge from their backgrounds in a manner that creates a presence unlike that of any other botanical illustrations. Brookshaw's Pomona rivals the Temple of Flora as the finest 19th-century British botanical work. The beauty and uniqueness of his illustrations guarantees the lasting value of this most exceptional work.