ELWES, John Henry (1846-1922). A Monograph of the Genus Lilium [with] Supplement.. London: Taylor & Francis for Dulau & Co., and others, [1877]-1880, 1933-1940, 1960-1962.

  • $ 22,000.00
    Unit price per 


Together 10 volumes" One volume "Monograph..." and "Supplement..." parts I - IX. Folio (546 x 375mm; 552 x 375mm). 83 fine hand-coloured lithographed plates, including one double-page and 5 chromolithographic plates by W.H.Fitch, Lilian Snelling and Margaret Stones, mounted photograph by Bourne, coloured map (preliminiaries spotted). "Monograph..." bound in contemporary red half morocco gilt, all edges gilt (hinges starting at head and foot of the spine, extremities scuffed); "Supplement..." in original printed paper wrappers.


Provenance: with Crewe Hall stamped in gilt on upper cover of the "Monograph"; with inserted letters of Thomas Hoog, Harlem in "Supplement", part VIII.

First edition, complete with all parts of the "Supplement", limited issue, one of 250 copies of the "Monograph" and parts I-VII of the "Supplement", part VIII of "Supplement", limited to 40 copies, and 500 copies of part IX.

The work was issued in 3 stages: the "Monograph" between 1877 and 1880 with 48 plates by Fitch; the first seven parts of the "Supplement" by A.Grove and A.D.Cotton between 1933 and 1940 with 30 plates by Lilian Snelling; and finally, parts VIII and IX by W.B.Turrill between 1960 and 1962 with plates by Margaret Stones. The two final parts were available with the plates hand-coloured (40 copies) or chromolithographed (960 or 500 copies).

Elwes, a traveller, collector, and particularly as a plantsman. "He knew what to collect, was determined in his travels to find it, was highly observant in describing the geographical distribution of what he found, and was particularly skilled in propagating specimens he brought back" (Balfour and Baigent). "He devoted his life to natural history and travel. His original interest was in ornithology and it was in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society (1873) that his paper on 'The geographical distribution of Asiatic birds' was published. This was the result of a visit in 1871 to Sikkim and, illegally, to Tibet, and was important in establishing that the Himalayan region was part of the same biogeographical region as China. Elwes attributed his election in 1897 to the Royal Society to this paper. In 1880 he produced his folio "Monograph of the Genus Lilium", which remains an authoritative work on that subject; although the work was issued under Elwes's name, the strictly botanical parts of the work were done by J. G. Baker" (F. R. S. Balfour, rev. Elizabeth Baigent for DNB). His work includes nearly all of the lilies then known in cultivation. Nissen BBI 594; Great Flower Books p.56; Stafleu & Cowan 1664. Catalogued by Kate Hunter