1867. New York: Charles Scribner & Company, 1867.
Folio, (17 x 12 7/8 inches). Hand-colored lithographed frontispiece and 15 hand-colored lithographed plates, all colored by Badger. Publisher's full black morocco, upper cover with broad floral gilt borders and gilt lettered title, rear cover with floral border in blind, hinges carefully restored, spine in six compartments with a repeat decoration in gilt, dentelles, marbled endpapers, gilt edges. A fine copy, internally immaculate.
§ First (only) edition. A charming American flower book with hand-colored plates: among the best folio flower books produced in America. Clarissa Badger (1806-1889) was an illustrator with an intuitive feeling for the decorative, as she amply demonstrates in this book, a companion to her Wild Flowers (published 1859). Each of the 16 full page flower plates is accompanied by a poem on the flower. Species represented include Azalea, Geranium, Roses, Jasmine, Bretia (Frontispiece); Camellia & Begonia, Night Blooming Cereus; Fuchsias, Cactus, Scarlet Geranium; Calla & Poincettia; Passion-Flowers, a bouquet of Roses, Narcissus, Hyacinth, Lily of the Valley, Tulip & Dielytra; Salvia & Dielytra; Pansies, Moss Rose; Tulips, Rose of Gethsemane; Larkspur & Japan Lily; Asters. The handcolored plates, colored by Mrs. Badger over very light lithographed lines and without captions (thus giving the plates the appearance of original watercolors), were executed in an era when chromolithographs were fast replacing such skilled hand work. A contemporary advertisement for the work by the publisher, who priced the work $30 when issued, describes it as follows: "The volume is a stately folio, elegantly bound in Turkey morocco and the paper and presswork, and the whole mechanical execution are perfect. There are sixteen pictures in the volume -- favorite or representative flowers -- and each of them is painted from nature by the patient and laborious hand of the artist, and with such exquisite care and taste, and delicacy of touch as to vie with nature herself." A review of the work in a December 1866 issue of Hours at Home proclaimed the work "without exaggeration, a most unique, highly artistic and gorgeous affair -- a work that reflects great credit on the artistic taste of the country, as well as on the genius and industry of the author." "Though little is known about her life other than the landmark dates of her birth, marriage and death, Mrs. Badger's fine drawings and talented hand have survived to keep her name alive" (J. Kramer, Women of Flowers, New York: 1996). Nissen BBI 56; Bennett p. 6; McGrath, p. 57. Item #106787