Histoire Naturelle générale et particulière des Mollusques Terrestres et Fluviatiles ...
Eur 22,000 / USD 24,200
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Paris, J.B. Baillière, 1820-1851. 4 volumes. Folio (430 x 300mm). pp. viii, 402; (4), xvi, 1-184 (60 pages of 96 bis), 260, 22 (explication des planches), 2 (errata); (4); (4), with 248 engraved plates, apart from a few plain anatomical key plates, all printed in colour and finished by hand. Later, brown half morocco, spines in 6 compartments with gilt lettering, top edges gilt.
one of the finest examples of French colour-printing by Langlois
An attractive uniformly bound Large Paper copy of one of the rarest and most beautiful conchological works. "Posterity is grateful to Férussac for some of the most beautiful and accurate coloured figures of non-marine molluscs ever published" (S.P. Dance, A History of Shell Collecting p. 91). "Férussac's book, still noteworthy for its accuracy and beauty of its many folio plates, was costly and time-consuming to produce and is still valued highly by scientists and antiquarian-book lovers alike" (S.P. Dance and D. Heppell, Classic Natural History Prints. Shells p. 52).
It is also the last and one of the finest examples of French colour-printing by Langlois, the printer responsible for some of Redouté's finest work.
The work had a long and complicated publishing history with the result that few copies are found complete. The first 28 parts, by Férussac, appeared between 1820 and 1832, containing 162 plates and 128 pages of text. In 1838 another six instalments were issued by Deshayes. The death of the publisher and departure of Deshayes to Algeria again brought the work to a halt. In 1848 Baillière acquired the stock and plates and convinced Deshayes that a work of such beauty and scientific importance could not remain unfinished. Eight more instalments were published. Deshayes is responsible for the greater part of the text and 85 plates.
The colour-printing and handcolouring were executed under supervision of Langlois and after his death by his pupil and successor, Geny-Gros, the plates were drawn by the finest natural history artists in France at the time: Bessa, Huet, Prêtre, and Riocreux. Baillière in his "Avertissement de l'éditeur' tells how as a consequence of the 1848 Revolution the most outstanding natural history artists could not find employment, apart from his work. Our copy has a plain plate 127AB which was not present in other copies we sold in the past. Nissen does not call for this plate and on the title of the book a total number of 247 plates is mentioned.
B.M.(N.H.) II, 569; Nissen ZBI, 1348.