Malacostraca Podophthalmata Britanniae; or, descriptions of such British species of the Linnean genus Cancer as have their eyes elevated on footstalks. Illustrated with figures of all the species, by James Sowerby.
London, printed by B. Meredith, published and sold by James Sowerby, 1815. 4to (295 x 230mm). pp. (4), (96), with 47 (5 folded or double-page) handcoloured engraved plates. Recent half calf, spine with black gilt lettered label. [Together with:] SOWERBY, G.B. Malacostraca Podopthalmata Britanniae ... continued and completed, with a new generic and specific index to the whole, and seven new plates. London, Bernard Quaritch, 1875. 4to (365 x 260mm). pp. (28), with 7 (1 double-page) handcoloured engraved plates. Publisher's blue printed wrappers (a bit worn).
One of the most splendid works on Crustacea ever published and comparable to J.F.W. Herbst's work on the Crustacea published 23 years earlier. The work was published in 19 parts and the concluding double issue by George Brettingham Sowerby was published over a half century afterwards by the antiquarian bookseller Bernard Quaritch, who had bought the remaining stock of the foregoing issues. Having been published over such a long period complete copies are very rare. The work is dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks, who may both have supported his application to the Museum, and his candidature to the Royal Society. William Elford Leach (1790-1836) was an English zoologist and marine biologist and assistant keeper of the Zoological Department at the British Museum. "In 1813, when Konig was appointed Keeper of the Natural History Departments, he was given an assistant, William Elford Leach (1790-1836), perhaps one of the more brilliant minds to enter the Museum. In every generation English science has been fortunate in attracting men with intuitive feel for nature who by their gift and enthusiasm infect others and leave their inspiration planted in those who follow. Anyone, who knew Leach and even the greater number who did not, came to revere his memory and example. After over a century and half, in spite of the shortness of his service, he stands out from his contemporaries as a 'profound naturalist'" (Gunther, The Founders of Science at the British Museum p. 49). Nissen ZBI, 2404; B.M. (Nat. Hist.) III , 1071.
Item nr. 8282
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