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The North American Sylva.


Publication Date: 1817
From Ursus Rare Books (New York, NY, U.S.A.)

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MICHAUX, François André. The North American Sylva, or, A Description of the Forest Trees, of the United States, Canada and Nova Scotia. Considered particularly with respect to their use in the arts and their introduction into Commerce; to which is added a Description of the most useful of the European Forest Trees. Three volumes. [4], xii, 266, [4]; [4], 250; [4], 285, [1], [133-144] pp. Illustrated with 156 stipple-engraved plates heightened by hand-colouring. Royal 8vo., 246 x 160 mm, bound in publisher's brown boards with gilt-stamped illustration of flowering sweet pea on front board, gilt lettered spines, yellow grazed endpapers. Preserved in a green slipcases and case. Philadelphia: Sold by Thomas Dobson. -- Solomon Conrad. Paris: Printed by C. D'Hautel, 1817-1819. WITH: NUTTAL, Thomas. North American Sylva; or A Description of The Forest Trees of The United States, Canada and Nova Scotia, not described in the Work of F. Andrew Michaux. Three volumes. xii, 136; [2], 123, [1]; [2], 148, [4] pp. Illustrated with 121 hand-coloured lithographic plates. Royal 8vo., 246 x 160 mm, bound in matching publisher's brown boards with gilt-stamped illustration of flowering sweet pea on front board, gilt lettered spines, yellow grazed endpapers. Preserved in a green slipcases and case. Philadelphia: Smith & Wistar, 1849. First Edition in English, of Michaux's Sylva together with an Early Edition of Nuttall's Sylva in matching publisher's bindings. A spectacular set of the most important work on American trees prior to the twentieth century. "It is no exaggeration to remark that it is the most complete work of its kind, and is a production of unrivalled interest and beauty" (Sabin). Michaux's portion of the work was originally printed in Paris in 1817-19. In 1825, the 156 copperplates were purchased by the geologist William Maclure who brought them to the United States. A first American edition (including Nuttall's additional volumes) was eventually published between 1841 and 1852. François André Michaux (1770-1855) based his Sylva on extensive travels in the eastern half of America, and those of his father, from the 1790s on. Both men were friendly with Jefferson and other leading figures, who aided them in their work and travels. His book was first published with a Philadelphia imprint in 1817-19, although actually printed in Paris, where the stipple plates were engraved as well. These plates were executed by the great French flower painters, Pierre-Joseph Redouté and his associate, Pancrace Bessa. Thomas Nuttall (1786-1859), one of the most intrepid American naturalists of his day, travelled extensively in the Mississippi Valley and the far west in the 1820s and 1830s gathering botanical specimens. His work, designed to supplement that of Michaux, covers eastern species missed by the Frenchman and new species that Nuttall encountered in the Midwest and Rocky Mountains. Nuttall's Sylva first appeared in Philadelphia in 1842-49 and contains 121 plates, same as in the issue offered herewith. Spotting to text as in nearly all copies, fragile heads to spines chipped. Very scarce, especially in this condition in uniform American publisher's bindings. Raphael, An Oak Spring Sylva, No. 20. Bennett 76. Stafleu, Taxonomic Literature 842, 929. Sabin 48695 & 56351. Bookseller Inventory # 142653

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The North American Sylva.

Publication Date: 1817

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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