The Natural History of British Shells, including figures and descriptions of all the species hitherto discovered in Great Britain, systematically arranged in the Linnean manner, with scientific and general observations on each.
London, printed for the Author, 1799-1803. 5 volumes. Royal-8vo (230 x 140 mm). With 180 fine hand-coloured engraved plates. Contemporary calf, gilt ornamented spines each with 2 green gilt lettered labels, sides with gilt ornamented border (some joints splitting, but firm, missing 1 label and a bit rubbed).
Rare first edition. The most popular of the English colour-plate books on shells. Edward Donovan (1768-1837) published a number of fine illustrated zoological works and 'was particularly fond of using bright colours in his plates' (Buchanan, Nature into Art p. 179). Donovan was an inveterate collector of natural objects and had his own museum. During the second half of the 18th century shell collecting became very much a fashion and a number of splendid shell books were published on the continent and in Great Britain. The present publication is one of the most attractive works on British shells. The plates are very well engraved and beautifully handcoloured. Former owner's stamp on titles. A clean copy without the usual foxing. Nissen ZBI, 1147.
Item nr. 10034
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