‘BOTANICAL PLATES’ by [BOTANICAL MANUSCRIPT.] GILLET, M.

‘BOTANICAL PLATES’ by [BOTANICAL MANUSCRIPT.] GILLET, M. < >
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‘BOTANICAL PLATES’ [n.p. but English, and dated on final plate XIV

1838. Bound partially interleaved drawing manual/notebook, 8vo; ff. [3] blank, [70], [2] blank, and which comprises [10] leaves of six full-page watercolour, and four full-page pencil illustrations, (each interleaved), [32] leaves of neatly penned descriptive text, within ruled ink border through which runs the [28] leaves of 14 numbered hand-drawn plates with accompanying explanatory leaf of text, (each plate also interleaved); some occasional light foxing and soiling throughout, but otherwise clean and bright; in contemporary black half-morocco over marbled boards, all edges gilt, spine in compartments with ruled bands, tooled and lettered in gilt ‘Botanical Plates’, minor wear to head and tail of spine, upper joint cracked and inner hinge strengthened so holding firm, covers slightly scuffed, extremities a little bumped and worn; ownership stamp on front free endpaper; a most appealing survivor. An attractively and elegantly compiled manuscript, presumably designed as an exercise in instruction or self-instruction, copiously and carefully illustrated, and a wonderful example of the 19th century fascination and focus upon botanical pursuits as a suitable subject for study.
The name ‘M. Gillet’ has been neatly inscribed in ink on the front free endpaper, within a stencilled floral wreath border, and the whole volume has been penned in a neat and legible hand. The beautiful illustrations that adorn the work have been executed in pencil, pen and ink, and watercolour, some of which have been embellished with gouache. Only the first leaf of text displays any hint of correction, with the final line crossed through. Not only most carefully executed throughout, a higher quality paper has been used, with lighter protective paper interleaved to protect the full-page illustrations and plates. Great care, and no doubt some expense, has been afforded to the whole endeavour.
Beginning with six full page watercolours of common plants, four further full page pencil sketches follow. The volume then comprises thirty-two leaves of neatly penned text, each within a ruled ink border, and which as far as we have been able to establish, is not a direct transcription of an existing text. Throughout the text leaves we find 14 numbered hand-drawn plates and tables, each of which is itself accompanied by an explanatory leaf of text. The plates, aside from the final table, have been neatly divided into 10 or 12 panels, with a small pen and ink illustration within each. The plates are as follows: Plate I Elementary Organs; II Compound Organs; III Compound Organs cont’d, through to Plate VIII; IX and X illustrated Linnaean Classes; Plates XI, XII, and XIII on the Linnaean Orders; Plate XIV ‘Table of the Primary Division of the Natural Orders’, and has been dated 1838.
Sadly we have been unable to provide any further biographical details about M. Gillet, though the neat italic calligraphic hand does have a feminine feel to it, and as the study of botany was one of the few scientific pre-occupations deemed a suitable course of study for young ladies, our instinct is that this is the work of a young female student.

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