London: Giraud, Jane Elizabeth, 1846. First edition. Single sheet matted in rag board. Original hand-colored lithograph by Miss Jane Elizabeth Giraud. Near Fine condition with very minor age soiling to edges of plate, not compromising the image. Large Quarto (9.25 x 12.25 inches).
In the tradition Miss Giraud's Flowers of Shakespeare (London c. 1845), these large and showy bouquets of flowers, leaves and vines float above an embellished calligraphic quote by John Milton. The first letter of each quoted passage is capitalized and adorned in an illuminated manuscript style, a detail which has become appreciated as one of the hallmarks of Victorian decorative book illustration and design.
Miss Giraud's delicate handling of the marriage between literature and the glories of the natural world was instrumental in establishing an entire culture of poetry and prose gift books during the mid nineteenth century. The work was drawn and lithographed by Miss Giraud, and printed by Day and Haghe, Lithographers to the Queen, and dutifully dedicated to Her Most Gracious Majesty, The Queen [Victoria] by Her Majesty's most devoted Servant, Jane Elizabeth Giraud; Faversham 20th June, 1846. Item #6619