4to. Frontispiece and 25 plates by Maxfield Parrish including 15 in full color, 26 black and white plates from photographs and numerous drawings in the text (marginal creases pages 227-243 not affecting images). Original green pictorial cloth gilt, top edges gilt, fore and lower edges uncut (head and foot of the spine and corners just touched, front inner hinge cracked).
First edition, published simultaneously in London. More widely known as one of America's foremost novelists, Edith Wharton, was also an accomplished essayist with this book being first published in parts in "The Century Magazine": "The Italian garden does not exist for its flowers; its flowers exist for it: they are a late and infrequent adjunct to its beauties, a parenthetical grace counting only as one more touch in the general effect of enchantment. This is no doubt partly explained by the difficulty of cultivating any but spring flowers in so hot and dry a climate, and the result has been a wonderful development of the more permanent effects to be obtained from the three other factors in garden-composition - marble, water and perennial verdure -." (Wharton "Introduction").