Benjamin Wilkes

Condition: Very Good No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since April 3, 2008 Seller Rating 4-star rating

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About this Item

A very detailed hand colored copperplate engraving by Benjamin Wilkes from his series "The English Moths and Butterflies", which was printed in London in 1749. Overall this print measures 12 " x 10 ". In these splendid and ambitious engravings on the butterflies and moths native to Britain, Benjamin Wilkes perfected his own style of representing these spectacular insects in their various stages of development, as well as their natural habitats. With this publication, Wilkes departed from convention, taking inspiration from styles popular in other art forms: Rococo and Chinoiserie. This scientific work, therefore, is of great artistic merit, not least because of the beauty of his subjects. His compositions take on a relatively spontaneous and naturalistic quality, as the insects in their various stages of development, from caterpillar to chrysalis and butterfly or moth, appear to meander about the flora. Wilkes was careful to place them with the plants that served as their nourishment, and the beauty of these, which are all in the flower or fruit stage, makes this book a truly great botanical work in its own right. Each illustration is vibrantly colored, probably by Wilkes himself, who personally drew and engraved the plates in order to ensure their high quality. Wilkes first became known as a painter in oils, specializing in portraits and historical subjects. Also an amateur entomologist, Wilkes eventually decided to devote himself to his passion for butterflies, moths and other insects, combining this interest with his artistic talent. Eventually, this decision culminated in this book, one of the most beautiful 18th-century volumes on the subject, and also led to acclaim and financial reward for Wilkes himself. Overall this print is in very good condition with some foxing/staining and a few small creases and tears around the edges. Bookseller Inventory # ab102d

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Bibliographic Details

Title: LXI

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Very Good

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The world's largest selection of the works of John James Audubon, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, historically important maps, natural history engravings and watercolors, lithographs of the American West, Californiana, Hawaiiana and Western Americana. Located at 432 Jackson Street in Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco, and online at www.aradersf.com.

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