London: Longmans, Hurst, Rees, Orme, & Brown, 1817. First edition. Fine original hand-colored stipple engraving. Pl. XXV Montauban, Grosse Mignonne & Old Royal George Peaches. Large Quarto Edition (11 x 13.5 inches). Pomona Britannica is considered one of the most distinguished pomologies ever produced, and is described as "one of the finest colour-plate books in existence." (Prideaux). Named for Pomona, the Roman Goddess of Fruit and Fruit Trees, a pomology is simply a treatise on fruit culture. However, there was nothing simple about the intent and execution of this fine work. In an effort to educate the landed country gentleman on the cultivation of fruit, George Brookshaw (1751-1823) rendered and described the finest fruit under cultivation in the most esteemed gardens in London and the Royal Gardens, particularly around Hampton Court and Kensington.
Very little is known about the early years of Brookshaw's life and education. He was born in Birmingham and died an undistinguished death in London. However, during the late 18th Century, Brookshaw enjoyed significant notoriety as a talented cabinetmaker, distinguished by royal patronage. Receipts from the Prince of Wales dating 1783 document the finely painted furniture commissioned from G. Brookshaw. Elegant cabinets, tables and chimney pieces were painted with exquisite allegorical scenes, bouquets of flowers and abundant cornucopias, offering a glimpse into what was to become the hallmark of Brookshaw's talent; elegant and fluid renditions of fruit and flowers. George's talent as an engraver was perhaps influenced by Richard Brookshaw (brother?), an established and talented mezzotint engraver in Paris during the 19th Century. Richard Brookshaw engraved several of the plates for the Folio edition of Pomona Britannica (c.1812), however as the last of Richard's engravings are dated 1804, we conclude every one of the plates in this large Quarto edition were engraved by George Brookshaw himself. This edition should not be considered a miniature version of the Folio edition, where the fruit is set on dark mezzotint grounds. This large Quarto edition features beautifully hand-colored stipple engravings which float on soft ivory backgrounds. (Ref. Dunthorne 55, Christie's 4-97). Fine with original hand-coloring. Item #744