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Sale 2512 Lot 277
ALLEN, JOHN FISK; and SHARP, WILLIAM. Victoria Regia; or the Great Water Lily of America. 6 chromolithographed plates, letterpress title, dedication to Caleb Cope, 12 pages of text (numbered -16), and terminal leaf with index, plate list, note and errata. Imperial folio, 27x21 1/2 inches, original cloth backed printed boards, fully intact with only minor wear; plates clean and fresh, blank interleaves and text sheets with image offsetting, plates with registration pinholes. Boston: for the author by Dutton & Wentworth, 1854
Estimate $15,000 - 20,000
an exceptional copy of an exceptional book. William Sharp's large-format chromolithographed plates of the life phases of exotic giant flowering water lilies are some of the finest botanical images ever produced in America. They are also some of the earliest to employ the multi-stone printing process. "One of the most striking of American botanical books, this is also among the most successful examples of early chromolithography… in the large water lily plates of Victoria Regia, Sharp printed colors with a delicacy of execution and technical brilliance never before achieved in the United States" (Reese).
The present copy is as plum and pure as a collector could imagine with the original plain binding surviving so well and the printed colors so tactually rich. Reese, Stamped With a National Character, 19; Great Flower Books, page 69.