DARWIN, C. et al.

The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Beagle, under the command of Captain Fitzroy, R.N., during the years 1832 to 1836.

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London, Smith, Elder & Co., [1838-] 1840-43. 5 parts bound in three volumes. 4to (315 x 245mm), with 166 lithographed plates, a few folding, 82 hand-coloured. A later binding of full blue straight grained morocco gilt.

the most important event in Darwin's intellectual life and in the history of biological science

First edition. 'The five years of the voyage (of the Beagle) were the most important event in Darwin's intellectual life and in the history of biological science' (DSB). This was the first publication resulting from the Beagle voyage, and it was a massive undertaking. Darwin edited the work, which appeared in five parts made up of nineteen numbers, between February 1838 and October 1843.
'Darwin contributed a geological introduction to Part I, the Fossil Mammalia (pp. 3-12), and a geographical introduction to Part II, the Mammalia (pp. i-iv). He also contributed notices of habits and ranges throughout the text of Mammalia and Birds, and there are frequent notes, mostly from his labels, in the text of the Fish and the Reptiles' (Freeman, The Works of Charles Darwin p. 26).
The variation of finches between islands in the Galapagos, the fossil remains of extinct animals on the coast of South America, the geological evidence of upheaval and subsidence, gave Darwin the source material which resulted in the theory of natural selection and inspired 'The Origin of Species'. Several artists were involved in preparing the plates, notably John Gould, assisted by his wife, B.W. Hawkins and G.R. Waterhouse.
Contents: I. (Fossil mammalia by Richard Owen). With 32 lithographed plates; II. (Mammalia by G.R. Waterhouse). With 35 lithographed plates, of which 1-32 are hand-coloured; III. (Birds by John Gould and G.R. Gray). With 50 hand-coloured lithographed plates; IV. (Fish by Leonard Jenyns). With 29 lithographed plates; V. (Reptiles Thomas Bell). With 20 lithographed plates.
Provenance: Old stamp contemporary with publication dates: 'Koninklijke Natuurkundige Vereeniging Ned. Indie' (Royal Association for Natural Science of the Dutch East-Indies) with coat-of-arms; and stamp (prior to 1910) of Bataviaasch Genootschap van Kunsten en Wetenschappen (Batavian Society for the Arts and Sciences) on titles. This copy is recorded in the Catalogus der Bibliotheek van de Koninklijke natuurkundige Vereeninging Nederlandish Indie (Batavia, Ernst & Co., 1884) in the section 'Zoologische Reizen' p 149 n 8.

Freeman 9; Nissen ZBI, 1391 and IVB, 384; Anker 173.