Lot 198

Byam (Lydia)

A Collection of Fruits from the West Indies, title and 4 leaves of text, 8 captioned engraved plates, only of 9, with additional watercolour, minor spotting, light marginal toning, minor surface dirt, some edge damage, disbound, folio, [Hunt Catalogue, no. 749 (note only); not in Dunthorne, Nissen, Pritzel, or Sitwell and Blunt], Printed at the Oriental Press, for the Author, [1800]

*** Lydia Byam was a British botanical watercolourist born into a powerful colonial family in Antigua. Her family’s social status facilitated her study of botany in the West Indies. Lydia Byam produced two sets of drawings, in hand-colored plates, ‘A Collection of Fruits from the West Indies’ (1799?) which she dedicated to Princess Elizabeth, and ‘A Collection of Exotics, from the Island of Antigua’ (1800) to one Viscountess Galway. Little is known about Lydia Byam beyond her work. The dedication of the collections to members of the nobility suggests that she was an elite woman. Byam’s vivid illustrations are a graphic record of some of the plants and fruits of one Caribbean island.

Estimate: £4,000-£6,000