London: Frederick Warne & Co. [printed by Morrison and Gibb Limited, Edinburgh], 1896-97. Hardcover. Four volumes (complete), octavo size, 730 pp. Very good +. Item #20012802
Edward Step FLS (1855-1931) was a prolific author in the fields of botany, zoology and mycology, with his daughter, Mabel Emily Step, often providing the drawings for the books on flowers. While she is not directly credited in this book as such, it is certainly possible.
What we do know from the book's Introduction is that the author intended this to be a book not about gardens, as such, but about the plants which populate them. "Its object is, primarily, to present reliable portraits of the representative or type plants of the principal genera that find favour in horticulture....To the comprehensive floral portrait gallery or album thus constituted is added a brief description of the principal species grown in gardens, their horticultural history, and hints as to the treatment they should receive to enable them to thrive in our borders and greenhouses."
Lavishly illustrated with 316 chromolithographed plates, a dazzling array of flora dance across the pages of each volume, complementing the text which not only gives the scientific and common names of the plants, but something of their history and cultivation. Even over 100 years later, to anyone interested in gardening this set proves both useful and delightful.
___DESCRIPTION: Four volumes (complete), Volume I published 1896, Volumes II, III and IV published in 1897; the volumes were custom-bound in the past in half green leather with green pebbled cloth boards, gilt lettering, decorations and rules on the spines, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers, original ribbon markers (still present although delicate), the 316 chromolithographed plates bound throughout, each plate with its original tissue guard; octavo size (9.5" by 6 5/8"), continuously paginated thus: Volume I, [1-4] 5-8,  2-163, [164, printer's statement]; Volume II, [i-iv] v-x,  166-323, [324, printer's statement]; Volume III, [i-iv] v-x,  326-495, [496, printer's statement]; and Volume IV, [i-iv] v-x,  498-691 (includes the Index to the set at the rear), [692, printer's statement].
___CONDITION: The set is better than very good, almost near fine; collated complete and each chromolithograph with its tissue guard, the boards clean, all hinges rock-solid with strong, square text blocks, the interiors are clean and bright, and other than some prior bookseller markings in pencil on the verso of the front free endpaper of Volume I, entirely free of prior owner markings; the head and tail of the spines and the corners show some rubbing, the spines have toned to a lighter shade of green, we had a professional do light restoration to the back board of one of the volumes (work invisible), some light areas of soil/foxing to the text block edges, and a short section of leaves in Volume I (six to eight leaves) with a slight crease and very short closed tear (about one-eighth inch) to the fore-edge margins. Overall a lovely set with the leather showing some light wear, the interiors clean and complete, the chromolithographed plates bright with colour.
___POSTAGE: Please note that this is an extremely heavy set, and therefore additional postage will apply. We are happy to ship at cost to both domestic and international customers, please inquire for details.
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