London: Sherwood, Neely, and Jones, 1812. xiv,xiii-xvi,viii,132,[cxxxiii]-cxxxvii,pp. plus eighteen handcolored plates of trees, seeds, flowers, and fruits (several figures to a plate), with accompanying letterpress text explanations (with separate pagination) for each plate. Quarto. Antique-style half calf and marbled boards, spine gilt, leather label. Titlepage slightly soiled, minor age toning. Contemporary gift inscription on first page of preface. Old repaired tear in bottom margin of first page of preface, touching a few lines of text. Very good. Item #WRCAM37583
This copy bears a contemporary gift inscription on the first page of the preface: "The gift of Warwick Pearson Esq. of Kirky, Lonsdale, Westmoreland to Tho. Warwick Syndman, Antigua." Titford was a Jamaica-born physician who lived on that island for many years, travelled extensively in the United States, and described himself as a corresponding member of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts. Otherwise little is known about him, excepting this work, for which he made all of the original drawings for the beautiful handcolored plates. Titford's only known publication, the volume was originally issued in six parts, and editions appear with titlepages dated 1811 and 1812. These factors may account in part for the variations in pagination between extant copies, supporting Ian MacPhail's comment in his "Titford's HORTUS BOTANICUS AMERICANUS..." that "the cataloguer who is faced with the bewildering collation of J.W. Titford: SKETCHES TOWARDS A HORTUS BOTANICUS AMERICANUS, London, 1811, is likely to throw up his hands in despair." An exquisite color plate botanical work, one of the earliest to depict American plant species, here with a fine contemporary Caribbean provenance. TAXONOMIC LITERATURE 14606. PLESCH, p.436. PRITZEL 9370. DE BELDER SALE 356. MacPhail, "Titford's HORTUS BOTANICUS AMERICANUS" in HUNTIA 1, pp.117-35. CLEVELAND BOTANICAL COLLECTIONS 757. ARNOLD ARBORETUM LIBRARY CATALOGUE, p.692. GREAT FLOWER BOOKS, p.144. NISSEN 1968. BEINECKE LESSER ANTILLES COLLECTION 638.