LOT 584

The Natural History of Barbados

G. Hughes. London, Printed for the Author, 1750. Folio, large paper copy. Subscribers issue. Title page, dedication page, preface vii, followed by subscribers list, (10pp.), contents (2 pp.), large folding map of Barbados by Thomas Jefferys, 314 pp. of text and 30 plates, 25 of which have contemporary colouring, followed by explanatory notes (4 ll.), Addenda (2 ll.) and Index (4 ll.). In the text, a further five illustrations can be found, plus many decorative initials and headers. Bound in contemporary red morocco, spine with raised bands, boards richly decorated with intricate gilt dentelles.

Hughes spent most of his career in Barbados, and this is one of the finest and most important early works on the natural history of the island. This copy has contemporary hand-colouring, which is very rare. Most plates depict the various palm trees from Barbados, drawn by the famous plant artist G. Dionysius Egret. Others show useful crops, and the zoology of Barbados, which has a chiefly West Indian fauna. Birds and sea life, especially the edible or otherwise economically interesting varieties of crabs, shells, etc., are described and illustrated. Each plate also bears the arms of one of Hughes' patrons. Some expert repairs to binding and a little shelf wear. Faint damp stain on bottom half of front cover, which has also affected the contents but fortunately not badly, leaving only a faint damp stain in the edge of the right margin throughout part of the book. Apart from a few text pages this is never really distracting. Some scattered foxing, more heavily on first 10 text pages and the first (uncoloured) plate, some off-setting from the coloured plates to text page on verso, maps also with some offsetting, as is often the case. The other plates are stunning in this large wide-margined copy. Despite the flaws described in detail above this is still a nice copy with a splendid appearance, and very rare in this coloured state. Nissen BBI, 950; Sabin 33582; Hunt 536. Great Flower Books p. 60.

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