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This impressive, large folio lithograph is from Henry John Elwes & Walter Hood Fitch’s A Supplement to Elwes’ Monograph of the Genus Lilium. The work was published in London by Taylor & Francis in 1933. This hand-colored lithograph is from the first edition which was limited to 250 copies.
Elwes began this work after a voyage tot he Himalayas. He had no formal training, but was fascinated by the lilies he saw on his journey. The work included nearly every lily then known in cultivation. “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)
Walter Hood Fitch was a prolific and well regarded botanical illustrator. He produced over 9600 plates for some of the greatest British publications. Sir Joseph Hooker described Fitch as an “incomparable botanical artist,” with “unrivalled skill in seizing the natural character of a plant.” The images from this work proved to be what Blunt calls the “most important achievement of Fitch’s later career.” (Art of Botanical Illustration, p. 264)