Arcana Naturae ou Receuil d'Histoire Naturelle.

Eur 850 / USD 950
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Paris, chez J.B. Baillière et Fils, 1859. Folio (390 x 295mm). pp. (2), 132, with a beautifully engraved frontispiece and 13 engraved plates of which 11 finely coloured by hand. Contemporary half calf, gilt lettered spine (tail of spine missing small part).

The large charming frontispiece by F. Nicolet and engraved by Lebrun shows a woman studying nature amidst numerous exotic animals and a luxuriant vegetation. 10 (8 coloured) of the plates show coleoptera and belong to the finest portrayal of these insects ever made, painted by Nicolet and engraved by Lebrun, delicately coloured by Mme German or Mme Ve Vaillant. James Thomson (1828-1897) was an American by birth who lived in France for the greater part of his life. He wrote a number of papers on Coleoptera and formed a large collection which was sold to René Oberthür. "James Thomson was a member of a number of learned societies in Europe and America... editor of four, albeit short-lived , journals, and author of a large number of papers on Coleoptera... and spent a fortune on gratifying his passion for beetles... " (C. von Hayek. A short bibliography of the entomologist James Thomson... published in 'Arch.of Nat. Hist' vol. 16, 1).

Provenance: Signature of Kikumaro Okano and his Japanes monogram in the margin of the frontispiece.

Nissen ZBI, 41119.