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Proliferous Pineapple (from Antigua). John Hill antique print c1775

Proliferous Pineapple (from Antigua). John Hill antique print c1775

by Hill, John

Striking three-dimensional 18th century antique engraving of Pineapple. 

Original copperplate engraving with contemporary hand-colour for The Vegetable System... the Figures of all the plants Designed and Engraved by the author. The whole from nature only, By John Hill, M.D. Printed at the expence of the author,and published in London between 1770 and 1775.  Sir John Hill (1716-1775) employed other engravers for his previous extensively illustrated botanical publication, The British Herbal: an History of Plants and Trees, Natives of Britain, cultivated for use or raised for Beauty published in London c.1756. From 1760 John Stuart (1713-1792), third Earl of Bute, was advised by Hill in laying out Kew Gardens. Lord Bute instigated The Vegetable System, provided financial backing, and undoubtedly, over the fifteen years would have contributed to the text of Hill's extensive, grandly illustrated publication; but financial disputes ruptured their association and Hill died after becoming bankrupt.

John Hill led a flamboyant social life, and claimed to be an author, botanist, apothecary, gardener, landscape architect, playwrite, actor and journalist. He irritated most people and alienated many people beyond the ones he satirized in his writings, resulting in lack of acknowledgement of his status in any field - in particular his most coveted election as a Fellow of the Royal Society, despite his being more eligible than many of those who were appointed.

In recognition of John Hill’s contribution in the field of agriculture, the Order of Vasa was bestowed on him in 1774 by King Gustavus III of Sweden. This knighthood was subsequently recognized by King George III. Eminent British writer and scholar, Isaac Disraeli (1766-1848) wrote, “Yet Sir John Hill, this despised man, after all the fertile absurdities of his literary life, performed more for the improvement of the Philosophical Transactions, and was the cause of diffusing a more general taste for the science of botany, than any other contemporary.”

Measuring 47 x 28cm (18.1/2 x 11 inches), close-cropped at left, with page edges (over 250 years old) brittle with age. Nothing detracts from this dramatic image.

Stock Number: apSJH13Price: $300.00