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18 original botanical watercolors - the original art used for the published edition

MUNSON, LAURA GORDON. Flowers from My Garden. Sketched and Painted from Nature

[New York], [1864]

4to. 18 fine original watercolors on heavy card. Original embossed black morocco gilt. Rubbed, extremities worn, minimal dampstaining. Very good condition, with the color fresh and vibrant and the plates clean.

FIRST EDITION, a unique pre-publication proof copy with 18 fine watercolors, the original art used as the basis for the lithographs in the published edition of Flowers from My Garden.

Laura Gordon Munson (1825-1900) was a Connecticut artist. Lydia H. Sigourney, the “Sweet Singer of Hartford,” contributed the introductory poem. Munson’s frontispiece is a large basket of flowers that includes many of those illustrated separately, viz., crocus, pansies, forget-me-not, lily of the valley, rose campion, rose, fairy bell, day lily, thunbergia, heliotrope, cypress vine, morning glory, jessamine, verbenas, blue fringed gentian, and autumn leaves. Each of the eighteen watercolors is accompanied by a poem on a separate text leaf. Poets include Hooper, May, Hunt, Longfellow, Hale, and Hemans.

The title page in this proof version varies considerably from the published version, which included the author’s name (and not just her initials, as here) and imprint “New York: Anson D. F. Randolf, 1864” (not printed here). The list of illustrations calls for only 17 plates, but there are 18 watercolors present. There were 18 lithographs, with added captions, in the published edition.

This is a fabulous unique example of one of the most vividly colored American color plate botanical books.

Bennett p. 81.

Provenance: Mrs. Welden Becroft, Yalesville, Connecticut, with her inscription; Irwin Silver, his sale, Sotheby’s New York, April 26, 2005, lot 92.