Botanica Magnifica in Miniature

At $2.5 million, Jonathan Singer's Botanica Magnifica is considered the most expensive new book ever produced. Now, you can own one for $11.95.

Botanica.jpgThe hand-bound, double-elephant folio of flower photography was created in an edition of ten in 2008-2009 (we profiled Singer in our July/August 2008 issue). Last month, Abbeville Press published an unabridged, palm-sized "Tiny Folio" edition of Singer's masterwork. In 376 pages, there are 250 full-color photographs, with text describing each specimen's botany, geography, history, and conservation.

Singer was a New Jersey podiatrist with a great eye before his botanical photography became so popular. Using his Hasselblad camera, he began photographing rare and exotic plants. When a curator of botany at the Smithsonian saw some of Singer's images, he invited Singer to have a look at the museum's greenhouse. Singer ended up snapping 750 pictures there; he selected 250 to print and publish as Botanica Magnifica. Singer also recently published Fine Bonsai: Art & Nature.

Primula auricle, from Botanica Magnifica

Incidentally, Abbeville Press has an impressive list of Tiny Folio editions of art/museum collections (e.g., Audubon's Birds of America, Morgan Library's Illuminated Manuscripts). Take a peek.

Images courtesy of Abbeville Press.