William Sharp, "Victoria Regia, The Great Water Lily of America"

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William Sharp, "Victoria Regia, The Great Water Lily of America"

3,500.00

William Sharp
Victoria Regia,The Great Water Lily of America 1854

Chromolithograph
20 in x 26 in.
From the book by John Allen Fisk
 

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The book Victoria Regia: Or The Great Water Lily of America was written by John Allen Fisk, a horticulturist, from Salem, Mass. The plant had just been recently discovered along the Amazon and was quite novel at the time. Allen wanted to document the flowering of the plant and expose it to a wider audience, so he collaborated with William Sharp to produce lithographs to illustrate the Victoria Regia development for his text. 

William Sharp emigrated from England to the U.S. in the late 1830's and brought with him the chromolithography process. From an art historical perspective his works are highly regarded as not only the first real color prints in the U.S. but also some of the most "technically brilliant". 

The printing of the Victoria Regia was quite large with the pages being around 20 x 26 in. so the chromolithographic plates, produced by Sharp and Sons(Dorchester, Mass.) have been lifted from the original publication. A first edition copy of the book is quite rare and retails in the range from $60,000-65,000. 

ALLEN, John Fisk (1785-1865). Victoria Regia; or the Great Water Lily of America. With a brief account of its discovery and introduction into cultivation: with illustrations by William Sharp, from specimens grown at Salem, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Boston: for the author by Dutton & Wentworth, 1854. Broadsheet (705 x 540mm). Letterpress title, dedication to Caleb Cope, 12pp. text (numbered [5]-16), 1p. index, plate list, note and errata. 6 chromolithographic plates by Sharp & Sons of Dorchester, Mass., 5 after William Sharp, one after J.F. Allen. 

This print is from the Whittemore Estate in North Hampton, New Hampshire