Marloth, Rudolf (author and photographer*); E Dixie, E Smith and others** (artists)

The Flora of South Africa. Vols I, II (2 sections), III (2 sections) and IV. 1913-1932 (newly rebound)

With Synoptical Tables of the Genera of the Higher Plants

Published: Darter Brothers and Co; William Wesley and Son, Cape Town; London, 1913-1932

Edition: All firsts

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*Other photographers: J S Henkel, J Belgrove, E J Steever, A J Fuller, Izaak Meiring, E Dyke, A Rogers and K Dinter.

**Other artists: Ethel Dixie, Esther Smith, Florence Thwaits, M Franks and P McManus.

Because the covers of this set has been extensively rubbed or suffered insect damage, they have been rebound in dark-green Skivertex, with gilt-embossed lettering to the upper panels and spines, new heavy plain cornfield endpapers and scarlet head- and tail-bands. Also repaired were a few between-section cracks and plates that were loose or, in one case, detached.

The original gilding of the top page-edges remains bright The set is unmarked and has very few faults (see Condition, below). 

A century later, this remains a South Africa botanical magnum opus. The great South African amateur botanist (he was an academic chemist by profession) Rudolf Marloth had of course the greatest share, but throughout he praised his his collaborators from and outside South Africa. Two deserve particular mention. The first was Lady Phillips, who not only inspired the work but carried the total cost of its production. The second was Marloth's correspondent at the British Museum, who oversaw the work by the printers to the Cambridge University Press (John Clay for Vols I and IV and W Lewis for Vols II and III). Marloth himself did not live to see the final volume in print. As I B Pole-Evans writes in his obituary in Vol III, he passed away on 15 May 1931 while this volume was still in the hands of the publisher. B W Marloth, one of Marloth's three sons, took over the editing of the final volume, and in January 1932 he paid witten tribute to those who had helped in the work of completing the final volume.

The volumes were not published chronologically but in the order in which the plates were completed - Vol I, Vol IV, Vol II (both sections), and Vol III (both sections). This set is without the original dustjackets.

The statistics of the set are worth quoting -

  • 1174 pages of prelims and text (including literature, abbreviations, indexes, lists of mammals, additional notes and errata and addenda).
  • 457 figures in the text (many of them full-page photographs) - not the missing Fig 59 in Vol IV, but including two figures in Vol II numbered "75".
  • 276 plates, of which 180 are of colour paintings of the flora. All the colour plates have tissue guards, while monochrome plates in special positions also have tissue-guards.
  • a total weight of 11.7 kg - Vol I 2.7 kg; Vol II (two parts) 3.2 kg; Vol III (two parts) 3.4 kg; Vol IV 2.4 kg.

CONDITION. With, as usual, the exception of the missing Figure 59 in Vol IV, all the volumes are complete, including loose or pasted-in errata and all the plates and tissue guards. The set has no ownership or other markings and we have not been able to trace the original owner. Foxing is the only fault. This is limited to the first few and the last few leaves of each volume. It seldom affects a printed page and in particular none of the plates or tissue guards are foxed, sunned or otherwise discoloured.

  • Binding Condition: Fine (rebound)
  • Overall Condition: Very Good
  • Size: 300 x 225 x 240; 11.7 kg
  • Sold By: Fontein Books
  • Contact Person: Richard Proctor-Sims
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 051 773 0050/048 079 546 4032
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Eft (South Africa), SWIFT (rest of world), or $ checks for US or Australian buyers
  • Trade Associations: AA Approved

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