ELWES, John Henry (1846-1922) and Augustine HENRY. The Trees of Great Britain and Ireland. Edinburgh: Privately Printed, 1906–1913
15 original parts in 7 volumes, 4to (320 x 260mm.), 5 coloured lithographed frontispieces, photogravure frontispiece portrait in volume 7, 413 plates and diagrams (minor foxing to some titles). Original printed wrappers and cloth-backed printed portfolios with ties (one upper cover with small abrasion).
First edition, RARE in the original parts. "The most important work of Elwes’s life was begun in 1903 when, with his friend Augustine Henry, he undertook the production of Trees of Great Britain and Ireland. Henry wrote the strictly botanical parts and Elwes contributed sections on the distribution, history, and cultivation of species, drawing on his knowledge of an immense number of species in their native habitat" (DNB).
Elwes, a traveller, collector, and particularly as a plantsman. "He knew what to collect, was determined in his travels to find it, was highly observant in describing the geographical distribution of what he found, and was particularly skilled in propagating specimens he brought back" (Balfour and Baigent).
"He devoted his life to natural history and travel. His original interest was in ornithology and it was in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society (1873) that his paper on 'The geographical distribution of Asiatic birds' was published. This was the result of a visit in 1871 to Sikkim and, illegally, to Tibet, and was important in establishing that the Himalayan region was part of the same biogeographical region as China. Elwes attributed his election in 1897 to the Royal Society to this paper" (DNB).