Entomographia Imperii Russici./ Entomographie de la Russie.

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Moscou, Société Impériale des Naturalistes/ Imprimerie Semen, 1820-1828. Volumes I-III (of 5). 4to (260 x 210mm). With 4 hand-coloured engraved frontispiece-titles and 82 fine hand-coloured engraved plates. Recent half cloth with 2 red and 1 black gilt lettered labels, marbled sides.

the rarest and most beautifully produced work on Russian entomology

The first 3 volumes of the rarest and most beautifully produced work on Russian entomology. Dr. W. Junk in his '50 Jahre Antiquar' lists the book in his chapter 'Introuvable' (page 307). The first major contribution on Russian entomology, preceded only by Pallas' 'Icones Insectorum praesertim Rossiae Sibiriaeque...' (1781-98). The edition of the present work was very small and the subscribers list in volume 2 and 3 only lists 167 subscribers. Of volumes 2 and 3 very few copies have been distributed and most probably these volumes were destroyed. 'Dans le préface du 4e volume de cet ouvrage l'auteur parle de la perte qu'il a faite de la presque totalité de ce qui existait des trois premiers volumes de l'Entomographie, occasionnée par des mains infidèles. Cette perte, qui porte particulièrement sur le 2e volume, et plus encore sur le 3me, dont il n'avait été distribué que peu d'exemplaires, à réduit à bien petite nombre les exemplaires complets (Ekama, Fondation Teyler. Catalogue de la Bibliothèque p. 255).

Johann Gotthelf Fischer von (de) Waldheim (1771-1853) was a German naturalist. The son of a linen weaver he was born in Waldheim, Saxony. He studied medicine in Leipzig and travelled to Paris with his friend Alexander von Humboldt and studied under Georges Cuvier. In 1804 he became professor of natural history at the Moscow University and the following year he founded the Imperial Society of naturalists of Moscow. He was one of the most prominent naturalists of his time and became famous for his scientific investigations of Russia. He was also known is some circles as 'Russia's Cuvier'. The work includes insects from Siberia.

The collation of the work is as follows:
Vol. I: pp. (4), viii, 210, xii, 104, with 26 hand coloured engraved plates and 2 hand-coloured engraved frontispiece-titles. The plates are numbered as follows: Coleoptera 1-17; Othoptera 1; Neuroptera 1-2; Lepidoptera 1-5; Coleoptera 1.
Vol. II: pp. xx, 264, with 39 hand-coloured engraved plates and 1 engraved hand-coloured frontispiece-title. The plates are numbered as follows: Coleoptera 18-50; Lepidoptera 6-11.
Vol. III: pp. viii, 314, with 17 hand coloured engraved plates and 1 hand-coloured frontispiece-title. The plates are numbered as follows: Coleoptera 1, 1*, 2-7, 7b, 7c, 8-14. At the beginning of the third volume some marginal dampstaining at the lower margin.

Provenance: Bookplate of Reinold Charpentier. Name of Kikumaro Okano on inside front-cover.

Nissen ZBI, 1377; Horn-Schenkling 6632; Hagen p. 235.