First Edition in Original Cloth of Darwin's Work on Orchids With Pre-Publication Advertisements
DARWIN, Charles. On the Various Contrivances by Which British and Foreign Orchids. Are Fertilised by Insects, and on the Good Effects of Intercrossing. With Illustrations. London: John Murray , 1862.
First edition. Octavo (7 3/4 x 5 inches; 195 x 125 mm). vi, 365, [1, colophon], [32, publisher's advertisements] pp. With 33 woodcuts in the text and one woodcut folding plate. With publisher's 32 page advertisements dated December 1861. These advertisements being dated before publication indicate that this is a very early copy.

Original full maroon cloth. Covers stamped and ruled in blind. Front board with gilt central device of an orchid. Spine stamped and lettered in gilt. Brown coated endpapers. Spine with some sunning. Some very minor foxing, mainly to preliminaries. Small old bookseller's label on front free endpaper. Overall a near fine copy.

"Darwin was adept at flanking movements in order to get around his critics. He would take seemingly intractable subjects—like orchids flowers—and make them test cases for 'natural selection.' Hence the book that appeared after the Origin was, to everyone’s surprise, The Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects (1862). He showed that the orchid’s beauty was not a piece of floral whimsy 'designed' by God to please humans but honed by selection to attract insect cross-pollinators. The petals guided the bees to the nectaries, and pollen sacs were deposited exactly where they could be removed by a stigma of another flower." (Brittanica)

Freeman, Darwin,. Hunt. McGill/Wood,. Nissen, BBI,. Nissen, ZBI,. Darwin Collection, 779.

HBS # 68006 $6,000