The Natural History of British Fishes, including scientific and general descriptions of the most interesting species, and an extensive selection of accurately finished coloured plates. Taken entirely from original drawings, purposely made from the specimens in a recent state, and for the most part whilst living.
London, printed for the author and for F. and C. Rivington, 1802-1808. 5 volumes. 8vo (235 x 142mm). With 120 beautifully hand-coloured engraved plates and explanatory text. Contemporary green half morocco, richly gilt decorated spines with gilt lettering.
First edition of one of the finest works on fishes. " ... the paint is laid on so thickly that it is frequently impossible to see the engraved lines underneath. The already rich colouring is heightened by the addition of burnished highlights, albumen overglazes and metallic paints to give an overall effect reminiscent of the work of a miniaturist. Surprisingly, these techniques were often combined to produce a very pleasing and delicate effect: the multiple ruses of the colourist triumph over the draughtsman's numerous failures. Donovan overreached himself and died penniless ..." (Dance, Art of natural History p. 87). Edward Donovan (1768-1837) was a Anglo-Irish naturalist and the author of a number of important natural history works which stand out for their perfection of execution. Best known are probably his publications of the insects of China and India. He was a Fellow of the Linnaean Society and the Wernerian Natural History Society. The title-page to the last volume has not been bound in. A nice uniformly bound set. Nissen ZBI, 1141; Dean I, 330.
Item nr. 9627
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