EVELYN, John (1620-1706). Silva: or, a Discourse of Forest-Trees, edited by Alexander Hunter. York: A. Ward for J. Dodsley [and others], 1776

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4to., (11 6/8 x 9 inches). Engraved frontispiece of Evelyn by Bartolozzi, 40 fine engraved plates including one double-page by J. Miller, one large folding letter-press table. Contemporary calf, gilt (rebacked preserving the original spine, hinges strengthened, endpapers renewed and repaired, extremities a bit worn).


Provenance: with the engraved armorial bookplate of W.R. Innes Hopkins on the front free endpaper; the engraved armorial bookplate of Joseph W. Pease, Hutton Hall, Gisborough, on the front paste-down.

First Hunter edition of the "Silva". Evelyn's pioneering work on tree cultivation, first published in 1664 was the "... outgrowth of the [unpublished] "Elysium Britannicum". Although primarily intended to encourage tree planting after the devastation of the civil war, "Sylva" was a learned work addressed more to gentlemen than to foresters. In it he introduced the word 'avenues' into the English language of landscaping. By its fourth edition it contained 'an Historical Account of the Sacredness and Use of Standing Groves' that demonstrates its relation to the Elysium project. Sylva's handsome reissue with additional plates by Alexander Hunter in 1776 gave it a renewed popularity" (Douglas D. C. Chambers for DNB). Keynes Evelyn 47 (calling for 39 plates); Henrey 137 (calls for 40 plates); Nissen BBI 615 (calling for 41 plates though almost all copies have 40). Catalogued by Kate Hunter