Description

    Griffith Hughes's "Standard Work on the Early
    Natural History of the Island" of Barbados

    Griffith Hughes. The Natural History of Barbados. In Ten Books. London: Printed for the Author; And sold by most Booksellers in Great Britain and Ireland, 1750. First edition. Folio (13.75 x 8.75 inches; 349 x 223 mm.). [2, title (verso blank)], [2, dedication to Thomas [Hering], Archbishop of Canterbury (verso blank)], vii, [1, Errata], [10, "A List of the Subscribers"], [1, "The Contents"], [1, "Authors Quoted" and "Texts of Scripture Cited or Illustrated"], 250, 251*-254*, 251-314, [7, Explanatory Notes], [1, blank], [4, Addenda], [7, Index], [1, blank] pages. Pages 116 and 117 misnumbered 115 and 116. Folding engraved map ("A Map of the Island of Barbados") by Thomas Jefferys, Geographer, and thirty engraved plates (twenty-two of which are botanical) by R. Austen, George Bickham, George Dionys Ehret, and J. Mynde, after Ehret and Bickham. Each of the plates is dedicated to one or more of the subscribers (mainly royalty and peerage). Engraved head-piece vignette, "A Prospect of Bridge-Town in the Island of Barbadoes," on pages 1, 31, 61, 188, and 251, and engraved head-piece showing a swag of fruit and flowers (at pages 43, 97, 121, and 141). Decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials.
    Contemporary calf, neatly rebacked, with original spine laid down. Spine decoratively tooled in gilt in compartments with six gilt-decorated raised bands and red leather label ruled and lettered in gilt. Binding rubbed and worn. Folding map with short tear into the image, repaired on the verso, and with lower right edge curled where folded up. Short tear to upper margin of Plate IV (facing page 107) and to pages 107/108 and 109/110. Offsetting from some of the plates, and occasional offsetting and bleedthrough from text and woodcut tail-pieces. A very good copy. Front pastedown with armorial bookplate of James Dickson Esqr. of Ednam in the County of Roxburgh; early ink ownership inscription at head of title: Kelso Library.
    Please visit HA.com/6127 for an extended description of this lot.


    More Information:

    "Not a great deal is known concerning Griffith Hughes. He was born perhaps in Merionethshire about 1707 or 1708 and graduated B.A. and M.A. from St John's College, Oxford, in 1748. Yet just two years later, while rector of St Lucy's parish in the north of Barbados, he brought out his Natural History of the island. At that time he was a member of the Royal Society and obviously a competent botanist...The book is one to place beside Catesby's Natural History (1731[-47]), which also gave some account of West Indian plants, in some instances the same ones, with similar local names. Hughes had an advantage over Catesby in that a majority of the Barbados plates were drawn by Ehret, whereas just three of Catesby's are from that gifted artist's hand. Probably several of the unsigned Barbados plates are also by Ehret, for he may have signed only those that he felt were good...The book has many charming features. Not often does a work on natural history contain an index to 'Texts of Scripture Cited or Illustrated'. It is the model work by the colonial parson who knows his poets and would know all he can of the flora and fauna among which he has come to dwell. Both in style and in philosophy he is a man of his century" (Hunt).

    Great Flower Books, page 104; Hunt 536; McGill/Wood, page 393 ("A standard work on the early natural history of the island"); Nissen, BBI, 950; Sabin 33582.



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    Auction Dates
    August, 2015
    5th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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