Saint Martins, Sausmarez Manor Collection

Guernsey Lilly Facsimile Edition

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Douglas’s Guernsey Lilly, originally published in 1725, was the first scientific work devoted to a single ornamental bulbous species.  Originally twinned with a treatise on the coffee bean it was enlarged and much altered and reprinted in 1727, focusing solely on the lilly.

In 1724 Douglas had received a gift of some bulbs from the Countess of Hertford from her garden at Marlborough. It was this gift that led to the publication of his monograph. There were hardly any contemporary botanists, gardeners or owners of famous gardens around London with whom Douglas was not acquainted and several of them play a part in his work.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Guernsey Lilly": Guernsey Lilly facsimile edition, published by The Clear Vue Publishing Partnership Limited, 2012

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Guernsey Lilly

Saint Peter Port: The Clear Vue Publishing Partnership Limited, 2012

  • Commentary (English) by Brock, Helen
  • Limited Edition: 185 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Guernsey Lilly: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

The 2012 Edition comprises two very different volumes.

The first is a full and complete facsimile of Douglas’s original 1737 edition based on the typesetting of the amended edition of the Guernsey Lilly of 1727, complete with all 3 fold out illustrations.

The second is a new treatise and bibliography in a companion volume by academic botanist Dr Helen Brock, examining the history, cultivation and physiology of Nerine Sarniensis, bound, in contrast to the facsimile, in a very modern binding of pink book cloth, embossed in white with a picture of a Guernsey lilly.

Dr Helen Brock has created a fascinating work, scouring the literature to produce a comprehensive account of the history and cultivation of the Guernsey lilly, which will delight all lovers of the lilly and which brings the original treatise up to date.

She examines the plants early history, its arrival into Europe and especially into Guernsey, its genus and notable characteristics and its culture, as well as its botanical history and all the key figures in its history. To do so she has used a similar series of chapters to Douglas' original work in a conscious echo of his work.

A keen scholar of the great Scottish doctor William Hunter, one of the great collectors of his age. Dr Brock had access to Hunter’s papers which contain a large collection of Douglas’s own papers, including a large number of records of Douglas’s observations on the Guernsey Lilly and these amplify his published work on the plant.

The two volumes are presented together in a chocolate book cloth covered slipcase.


Half bound in a very traditional binding of chocolate calf with a marbled, lily design, cover paper that is speckled with a gold sheen to emulate the lily itself.

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