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New illustration of the sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus : comprehending an elucidation of the several parts of the fructification : a prize dissertation on the sexes of plants, a full explanation of the classes, and orders, of the sexual system : and the Temple of Flora, or, Garden of nature, being Picturesque, botanical, coloured plates, of select plants, illustrative of the same, with descriptions

Thornton, Robert John, 1768?-1837; Linné, Carl von, 1707-1778
London: Printed, for the publisher [i.e. the author], by T. Bensley, 1807 [i.e., 1798–1807]


Digital Facsimile

[61] leaves, [135] p., [37] leaves of plates : ill. (some col.), portraits ; 60 cm.

No two copies are exactly alike as Thornton made up copies using different combinations of plates.

"Published in parts, with multiple editions and issues, the New illustration presents a thorny prospect for bibliographic description. From copy to copy, the contents are combined in different orders, and any given section may or may not be present. Plates were altered over the decades of the book’s completion."--

Most leaves of plates dated: 1798-1807.

At bottom of title page The prize dissertation on the sexes of plants by Carolus von Linnaeus; written Anno Domini 1759: Tomkins scripsit, Halliwell sculpsit.; The sexual system of Carolus von Linnaeus: Tomkins script, Cooper sculpt.; Picturesque botanical plates, illustrative of the sexual system of Linnaeus: by Robert John Thornton: Tomkins scripsit, Vincent sculpsit.

"Thornton bankrupted himself on this project, a poetic and artistic celebration of the sexual system of plant reproduction proposed by Linnaeus earlier in the eighteenth century. Thornton employed prominent artists such as Philipp Reinagle, Peter Henderson, and Abraham Pether to create paintings for the plates, and Thornton himself contributed a painting of roses. The plates were engraved by similarly distinguished firms (Ward, Earlam, and Dunkarton for the mezzotints and Stadler and Sutherland for the aquatints) and often finished by hand. Thornton described the illustrations as “picturesque,” with each plant depicted in a version of its natural setting, and he bemoaned the limits of illustrations, which “fall short in trying to represent these ravishing beauties of the vegetable world!” (from his text on tulips). But the work was under-subscribed due, according to Thornton, to war taxes which kept collectors from buying books. The original paintings for the Temple of Flora, as well as bound books and loose plates, were sold in a lottery in 1811...."--

Digital master created according to Benchmark for Faithful Digital Reproductions of Monographs and Serials, Version 1. Digital Library Federation, December 2002.


Physical Description

Lib. copy is 3 pts. in 1 v. Lib. copy pagination: [8] leaves (half titles and portraits that precede the t.p; also includes t.p., dedications, texts, and plates); Preliminary observation: [10] leaves; part 1: [24] leaves (includes text and plates); part 2: [11] leaves (includes text and plates); part 3: [84] leaves (text and unnumbered plates), 31 leaves of color plates. Lib. copy half-title pages: half-titles (no imprint on each) precede the t.p.: [1] A British trophy in honour of Linnaeus. [2] A new illustration of the sexual system of Linnaeus. Lib copy: leaf preceding title page, recto top left in ink script in unkown hand: August 27th 1859. Lib. copy part 3 plates bound(?) out of sequence: plates bound 3, 1, 2 according to part 3 Table of contents for plates. Lib. copy part 3 has plate numbers penciled in upper left corner of leaf. Thornton himself provided the painting for the 'Roses', Third part, The temple of flora, or Garden of nature.





Linné, Carl von, -- 1707-1778.; Botany -- Pictorial works.; Plants, Sex in.; Flowers -- Poetry.