Title: Ocean Flowers and their Teachings. By the ...
Publisher: Bath: Binns and Goodwin.
Publication Date: 1846
Book Condition: Good
8vo, iv, 146, (2, ads. and errata slip "Since the Specimen Pages were printed, it has been found desirable to substitute ulva latissima, broad green laver, for ulva linza") printed pages. With a frontispiece (printed in sepia with a basket of mounted seaweed fronds) and 38 leaves of mounted specimens of seaweeds, zoophytes, corallines, etc. (a few with minor breakages or loss, frontispiece and title page damp stained). Occasional light spotting and offsetting from specimens to facing text leaf. All edges gilt. Original front free endpaper incorrectly bound facing page 24. 15 x 23 cm. Original blue silk stamped in gold, rebacked with new endpapers, cover blocked in gold with a central vignette of shells, seaweed, and foliage; the spine is decorated similarly -a remarkably good copy of this fragile and rare book. Duggins (2017) states of this work "such gift-books were ultimately commodities, hybrid creations that combined mounted naturalia with illustrations and letterpress". Costly and time-consuming to make, they were produced in limited numbers and exchanged as luxurious gifts. In Ocean Flowers, which passed through at least three editions, one could purchase a ready-made cabinet of seaweed samples and the literary nuggets that drew out the spiritual and moral teachings of these natural productions. As Howard puts it in her preface, though she is concerned that the science of her book is correct, her chief purpose is to reveal how those beautiful and wonderful objects which clothe our rocks…might deepen in the mind the feelings of devotion to their glorious Author. Howard includes excerpts of poetry by Lord Byron, William Wordsworth and George Crabbe extolling the romantic sublime of the sea with scientific passages from John Herschel, Charles Darwin and William Jackson Hooker. Incidentally, at a National Anti-slavery Bazaar held at Faneuil Hall in Boston in 1846, another copy of Ocean Flowers was auctioned for $8.00 to support the abolitionist cause! Duggins, M. 2017, Pacific Ocean Flowers: Colonial Seaweed Albums, In: The Sea and Nineteenth-Century Anglophone Literary Culture, S. Mentz, ME Rojas (Eds). Bookseller Inventory # 4385