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Charles Agvent

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Charles Agvent

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THE SPECIMEN BOOK OF FRUITS, FLOWERS AND ORNAMENTAL TREES. Carefully Drawn and Colored from Nature, for the Use of Nurserymen

DEWEY, D. M Quarto (8-1/2" x 11") bound in publisher's gilt-decorated blue pebbled cloth, rebacked wiht the original black leather spine, previous owner's name in gilt on front cover with later name in gilt toward bottom; new endpapers. Illustrated with hand-colored title page, 97 full-page hand-colored plates of fruits and flowers, and one plate printed in green, all titled at the bottom and signed in the plate "D. W. Dewey's Series of Fruits, Flowers, and Ornamental Trees. Rochester, NY." Most have a price in pencil at the bottom of the plate (how Dewey sold them individually). These nurserymen's plates were an American invention. Rochester, NY, was the center of horticultural design in the mid to late 19th century. Dellon Marcus Dewey was the most prolific publisher of these plates, having accumulated around 3000 by the time of his retirement in 1888. Professional artists created the designs, and then Dewey hired young women and girls to paint in the colors. Nurserymen then could select individual plates representing their specific plants or purchase an entire specimen book to show prospective customers. We have found only one copy with more (103) plates which sold in 1999. Most copies seem to have anywhere between 48 and 80 plates. No two specimen books had the same number of plates. This copy is a very early one. Title-page missing a 2" x 3" piece upper right corner and has been mounted on a paper backing. A two-page catalogue dated 1865-6, missing the upper right corner, is mounted at the rear of the book listing over 800 varieties and 200 new colored plates. Some peripheral soiling of several plates, many showing only minimal staining. Eleven plates show some smearing of the color, several suggesting that the smearing might have occurred before the original paint had dried. Circular brown stain measuring 1" on front cover. Very Good
  • $4,375
  • $4,375