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Jun 112018
American Water Lily Victoria Regia

Victoria Regia is the most revered work of early American printing.  The Great Water Lily of America was published in Boston in 1854. Illustrated by William Sharp. Authored by John Fisk Allen.  Considered Americana, this was the first printing of this sort in America.  It is splendid!

Victoria Regia: The Great Water Lily of America by William Sharp & John Fisk Allen.

This rare collection of beautiful antique chromolithographs are the work of William Sharp and John Fisk Allen.  The book was printed and published in Boston for the author John Fisk Allen.   All the stages of botanical development are clearly illustrated. Exquisite details are beautifully executed.  This species or Great Water Lily of America was of interest to everyone.  The book was issued in paper wrappers.  The contents include: Cover, Title, and Text pages.  There is a brief account of the discovery of this lily.  There are additional descriptions on the cultivation.  Magnificent illustrations by William Sharp are the first of it’s kind produced in America. The illustrations were taken from specimens grown in Salem, Massachusetts.

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A Brief History of This Collection of Early Americana:

William Sharp came to Boston from England in the late 1830’s, and jumped into printing colors from limestone plates-or lithographs. He was very proficient with incredible detail and use of color. He was a natural at his profession and produced five of the 6 plates. John Fisk Allen did only one. Can you guess which one is Allen’s?

When this rare book comes on the market it is usually offered as Americana. It was the first chromolithography published in the United States. Chromo means color. Lithograph meaning printed from limestone.

Producing early subscriptions was all the rage in early America.  It was all about how fast magazines, subscriptions and books could be produced and published. Hand coloring took tremendous time, talent and money. Printing in colors, from limestone plates, certainly would be less expensive… IF you had a GREAT lithographer. Each color was applied with an individual key stoned limestone plate.



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