The Natural History of Barbados

£4,000

London: Printed for the author; and sold by most booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland,, 1750. Folio (340 x 215 mm).

Contemporary calf, with a folding engraved map by Thomas Jefferys, 30 engraved plates of ora and fauna by Mynde or G. Bickham a er G.D. Ehret , 10 engraved headpieces including 5 views of Bridgetown and 5 engraved oral swags, wood-engraved head, tailpieces and initials.

First edition of the most important early botanical treatise on Barbados

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London: Printed for the author; and sold by most booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland,, 1750. Folio (340 x 215 mm). Contemporary calf, with a folding engraved map by Thomas Jefferys, 30 engraved plates of ora and fauna by Mynde or G. Bickham a er G.D. Ehret , 10 engraved headpieces including 5 views of Bridgetown and 5 engraved oral swags, wood-engraved head, tailpieces and initials.

First edition of the most important early botanical treatise on Barbados, written by Welshman Griffith Hughes who was rector of St Lucy’s, Barbados from 1736 to 1748.

“In Barbados, Hughes developed the idea of publishing a book on the island’s natural history. In 1743 he visited London with the intention of promoting this work and ingratiated himself with the leading scientists of the day, men such as Sir Hans Sloane and Martin Folkes. Before returning home, he had arranged for the leading artist George Dionysius Ehret to prepare plates for his book. Because his plan was both interesting and ambitious, on Hughes’s return to England in 1748 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society as well as receiving his BA and MA degrees from his old college. The Natural History of Barbados, a lavish production in folio… appeared in the spring of 1750” (ODNB).

He recorded two notable firsts: the first description of a grapefruit, which he called “the Forbidden Fruit”, and the first mention of in print of “yellow fever”.
Hughes managed to enlist a number prestigious subscribers: Including the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke of Cumberland. Many of the plates are dedicated to the subscribers with their coat of arms. An attractive copy of an important work concerning the natural history of the Island.

Nissen BBI 950; Great Flower Books, p.104; Hunt 536; Sabin 33582; Wood 393

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