The Woodbook

The Woodbook


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The Woodbook: The Complete Plates

by Romeyne Beck Hough

From the cover (and we all know not to judge a book by its cover) this might appear to be the nichest of niche books, reserved for cabinet makers and dendrologists. But open this book and you immediately know this is a treasure trove. As dense and serious as a block of ebony (Diospyros virginiana, p.244) the black pages are sumptuously printed with gold text and illustrated with fine gilded engravings for most of the 350 trees included. But it is the photographs that count.

Between 1888 and 1913, Romeyn Beck Hough painstakingly researched the trees of America, his opus amounting to 14 volumes. Each tree included was illustrated with gilt-framed specimens of the actual wood, in three sections: transverse, radial and tangential. Taschen (the German publisher replants to offset the trees used for its publications) created facsimile photographs of all these wood specimens from a complete set of the original volumes in the library at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. This new edition, incorporating the original text, is the result.

Trees have never been more highly prized nor appreciated. This book gives fresh insight, albeit from another century, into the extraordinary variety and beauty of timber. Some of the specimens are indigenous to the US, for example the richly patterned Washingtonia, first grown by missionaries in California, or importantly the American Elm, (now known for its resistance to Dutch Elm Disease). But many of the trees are common in Britain: Elder, Swamp Cypress, our streets planted with Red Maple, the choice of trees is exotic yet familiar.


Hardback, gold printed end papers

Edition: 2019

Dimensions: H:24.3cm, W:17.3cm, D:5.2cm

Extent: 767pp

Illustrations: Approx. 1050 colour illustrations (1 tree, 3 photographs per spread)

Trilingual: English, French and German

ISBN -10:3836580616, ISBN - 13: 978-3836580618