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Fitzgerald (Robert David)

AUSTRALIAN ORCHIDS.

Published: Lansdowne Editions, Melbourne, 1977

Edition: Facsimile reprint

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With Introductory Notes by Mr. J.J.Betts and Mr Robert D. Fitzgerald O.B.E., F.I.S.A.

Facsimile reprint: 2 volumes, from the original work published in Sydney between 1875 and 1895 in 12 parts, 119 full-page colour plates some of which are double page, the original wrappers from the parts are reproduced and included, half green leather with cloth sides, titled and decorated gilt on the spine in panels, marbled endpapers and cloth hinges, a fine set.

The colophon reads: This facsimile edition of Fitzgerald's "Australian Orchids" is an authentic reproduction of my grandfather's work limited to 350 copies, numbered and signed, this being No. 187. Robert D. Fitzgerald.

Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 4,(MUP 1972), 'Robert David FitzGerald (1830-1892), surveyor and naturalist, was born on 30 November 1830 at Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland, son of Robert David FitzGerald, banker, and his wife Mary Ann, née Bell. He studied civil engineering at Queen's College, Cork, arrived at Sydney in 1856 and was appointed to the Department of Lands as a draftsman in August. In 1868 he was given charge of the roads branch and in 1873 became deputy surveyor general. In 1874-82 he was also chief mining surveyor and for some years controller of the Church and School Lands. On the surveyors' licensing board he examined cadet surveyors. After the Crown Lands Act, 1884, he sat on the commission of three to consider the future working of the department; much retrenchment resulted and his own office was abolished on 30 November 1887. In 1888-92 he served on the Public Service Commission.

With Arthur James Stopps (1833-1931), a lithographer in the Lands Department, FitzGerald published the first seven parts of his Australian Orchids between July 1875 and October 1882. This comprised Volume I, dedicated to Charles Darwin. Four parts of Volume II were published before 1892 and the fifth was brought out by his friend Henry Deane. The exquisite lithograph plates, which included enlargements of FitzGerald's painstaking dissections, were hand-coloured by various artists from instructions and sample sheets coloured by FitzGerald. This work brought him fame. J. D. Hooker considered it 'a work which would be an honour to any country and to any Botanist', while George Bentham wrote, 'Thanks to you the Australian Orchideae are now better known than those of any other country out of Europe'. At Balmain on 3 July 1860 FitzGerald married Emily Blackwell, daughter of Edward Hunt, M.L.C., and his wife Hannah Paget, née Mason. Three sons and three daughters survived him when he died at Hunter's Hill on 12 August 1892. He was buried in the Presbyterian section of the old Balmain cemetery.'

  • Overall Condition: A Fine Set
  • Size: Folio (480 x 330 mm)
  • Sold By: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA


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