London: Marcus Ward & Co., 1877.
First Edition. Hardcover. Bards and Blossoms, published in 1877, presents a beautifully-bound and extravagantly-illustrated union of the lore, poetry, meaning, and history of flowers, as collected by Frederick Edward Hulme (1841–1909). Hulme was an esteemed artist, antiquarian, natural historian, and amateur botanist best known for his nine-volume work Familiar Wild Flowers. This lush study of the beauty, uses, and significance of flowers is arranged in three parts, with the first forming a "reference to what may be termed the practical side, quoting from the poets divers allusions to the domestic uses in the household of our common gplants, or to country customs in which they find a place," the second celebrating the "joy that is derivable from the beauty of natural growth on is own merits," and the third concluding with the "inner meaning that is derivable whether in heraldic or historic sense, as in the rose of the Tudors, or in that higher symbolic sense, that sees in the perishing things of earth some reflex of the kingdom that abideth." Subjects include but are in no way limited to: "omens from natural objects," "Druidic worship of the mistletoe," "floral funeral customs," "the writings of the Medieval herbalists," "Chaucer and Wordsworth on the daisy," "Oriental legend of the forget-me-not," "plants as teachers," "the shamrock of Ireland," and "flowers as emblems of mortality." Adding to these many splendors are the frontispiece and seven chromolithographic plates, illuminated in gold and colors, stunningly vivid nearly 150 years after they were first bound here.
9 1/2" X 7". 232pp. Presents nicely in protective archival jacket. Forest green cloth over bevelled boards, with upper board elaborately decorated in a floral wreath and border in gilt, pink, and dark green, surrounding a lute and banner title in gilt. Spines appears to have originally been stamped in kind, but with gilt quite dimmed away. Moderate wear to binding, with scattered rubbing, small tears to extremities, bumping to corners, toning to rear board, and slight lean to spine. All edges gilt; one gathering proud. Front hinge cracking, with some evidence of binder's glue, binding nevertheless remains quite firm and sound. Prize bookplate to front pastedown, awarded to one Christina Scott by the London Peeblesshire Society for honesty, truthfulness, and general diligence at Walkerburn Public School. Occasional foxing, smudges, or toning from once-enclosed plant specimens to pages, else unmarked. Illustrated in frontispiece and seven bright chromolithographic plates. Good. Item #6089