Journal of a Tour in Iceland in the Summer of 1809

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Author: William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865)

Year: 1813

Publisher: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme & Brown

Place: London


2 volumes;. 7]+cvi+369 pages with two folding maps, 1 full page map, 2 folding plates, 3 full-page plates and some woodcut text figures (lacks folding frontispiece map in volume 1),  and tables.; [3]+391+[15] pages with tables.  Octavo 8 1/2" x 5 1/2") bound in half brown calf, raised bands, gilt titles, marbled boards and page ends. Second edition with additions. First published in 1811 in two states for a small run of friends.

Sir William Jackson Hooker KH FRS was an English systematic botanist and organizer, and botanical illustrator. He held the post of Regius Professor of Botany at Glasgow University, and was Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He enjoyed the friendship and support of Sir Joseph Banks for his exploring, collecting and organizing work. Hooker inherited enough money to be able to travel at his own expense. His first botanical expedition at the suggestion of Sir Joseph Banks was to Iceland, in the summer of 1809. The specimens he collected, along with his notes and drawings, were destroyed by fire on the homeward voyage; an incident in which he nearly lost his life. His good memory, however, aided him to publish an account of the island, and of its inhabitants and flora; his Tour in Iceland, 1809, was privately circulated in 1811 and reprinted in 1813.Settling at Halesworth, Suffolk, he devoted himself to the formation of his herbarium, which became of worldwide renown among botanists. In 1816 the British Jungermanniae, his first scientific work, was published.

This was succeeded by a new edition of William Curtis's Flora Londinensis, for which he wrote the descriptions (1817-1828); by a description of the Plantae cryptogamicae of Alexander von Humboldt and Aimé  Bonpland; by the Muscologia, a very complete account of the mosses of Britain and Ireland, prepared in conjunction with Thomas Taylor (1818); and by his Musci exotici (2 vols., 1818-1820), devoted to new foreign mosses and other cryptogamic plants. Hooker succeeded in convincing the British government that botanists should be appointed to their expeditions. While his works were in progress his herbarium received large and valuable additions from all parts of the globe, and his position as a botanist was thus vastly improved. He was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order and a Knight Bachelor in 1836, and in 1841 he was appointed director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, on the resignation of William Townsend Aiton. Under his direction the gardens expanded from 10 to 75 acres, with an arboretum of 270 acres, many new glass-houses were erected, and a museum of economic botany was established. He was engaged on the Synopsis filicum with John Gilbert Baker when he contracted a throat infection then epidemic at Kew.


Lacks folding frontispiece map in volume 1. Rebacked with attractive leather in gilt stamped lettering in original marbled boards. Previous owner's book plates on front paste downs and end papers, some minor foxing at back end papers else a very good copy.

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