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Book Description
A POPULAR WORK ON BRITISH FLORA BY JOHN LUBBOCK, CHARLES DARWIN’S ERSTWHILE STUDENT, IN THE ORIGINAL CLOTH

Octavo (224 x 142mm), pp. xxiii, [1 (blank)], 450, [2 (publisher’s advertisements)]. Final l. 2G2 a cancellans. Numerous illustrations and diagrams in the text. (A few small marginal marks.) Original green cloth gilt, upper board with upper and lower borders of gilt rolls and rules, lower board similarly blocked in blind, spine lettered and decorated in gilt. (Light offsetting on endpapers, a few light marks on upper board, extremities minimally bumped.) A very good copy in the original cloth.
Dealer Notes
First edition. John Lubbock (1834-1913) was the son of the astronomer and banker Sir John William Lubbock Bt, a neighbour and friend of Charles Darwin who ‘acted as the younger Lubbock’s informal tutor in natural history’ (ODNB), prior to Lubbock’s education at Eton College between 1845 and 1849. ‘Lubbock’s lifelong interest in natural history started with his early introduction into Darwin’s “inner circle” and membership of such groups as the Royal Institution, the Geological Society, the Royal Society (FRS 1858), and the X Club, and persisted through his enduring idea that natural selection provided a “true cause” that could be applied to such disparate fields as archaeology and entomology’ (op. cit.). His first substantial publication was Pre-Historic Times as Illustrated by Ancient Remains (1865) and Lubbock went on to write a large number of scientific works (often intended for a popular audience), balancing, as his father had before him, a successful career in the family bank with the pursuit of scientific interests (from the 1860s a political career would also lay claim to his time and energies, and bring a peerage in 1900).

Lubbock explains in his preface to Notes on the Life History of British Flowering Plants that ‘Sowerby, Bentham, Hooker, Babington, and others have given us good, and in some cases excellent works, enabling us to determine and name our British plants, but they mostly confine themselves to technical details, with such additional particulars as enable the student to distinguish one species from another. To these, however, in the main they confine themselves, and [...] omit other points often of great interest, nor does it fall within their intention to enter much into the economy and life-history of plants. Even Sowerby did not to any great extent fill up the gap. He does not, I think, mention the remarkable work of Sprengel, and the interesting researches of Darwin, H. Müller, Hildebrand, Delpino, and others have been made since he wrote. [...] In another book, Flowers, Fruits, and Leaves, I have dwelt on the structure and forms of plants, but from a general point of view. In the present work I endeavour to supplement the various excellent “Floras” which we already possess, not in any way to compete with them: to describe points of interest in the life-history of our British plants; to explain, as far as possible, the reasons for the structure, form, and colour; and to suggest some of the innumerable problems which still remain for solution. I have followed the arrangement adopted in Bentham’s Handbook of the British Flora, as being one in very general use’ (pp. v-vi).
Author LUBBOCK, John, First Baron AVEBURY
Date 1905

Price: £45.00

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