CURTIS, John. British entomology; being illustrations and descriptions of the genera of insects found in Great Britain and Ireland: containing coloured figures from nature of the most rare and beautiful species, and in many instances of the plants upon which they are found.

Price : 8.000,00 

Cuvier considered the work of John Curtis as « the paragon of perfection ».

770 plates of insects and flowers, finely contemporary hand-colored.

1 in stock

SKU: LCS-17929 Categories: ,

London, printed for the author, 1824-1839.

16 volumes 8vo illustrated with a total of 770 plates, a quire disbound in part 16, pl. 737 bound upside down, few light foxing. The whole bound in beige buckram, flat spines.

231 x 147 mm.

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First edition of this superb work dedicated to insects by the British entomologist John Curtis (1791-1862).

Nissen ZBI 1000; Brunet, II, 447.

The work, published in the form of monthly issues via subscription from 1824 to 1839, is considered as one of the best works of entomology in the 19th century.

In the preface, the author specifies that “the plates of several of the early volumes for the greater part, and those of the last and a considerable part of the fifteenth were entirely my own engravings, and all the others were corrected and finished by myself: the drawings also are the effort of my pencil, and the articles and descriptions are my own writing; for any errors therefore I alone am accountable“.

He goes on explaining that in December 1839, the plates had “already cost upwards of £3000”.

“Cuvier pronounced British Entomology to be ‘the paragon of perfection'” (ODNB).

The work is illustrated with 770 plates out-of-text (plates 1 to 769 and one plate 205*), engraved from life and finely hand-colored at the time.

They illustrate insect species we could find in the United Kingdom with the different parts of their anatomy detailed in line drawings often located at the bottom of the plates, and the insects shown in their natural environment on plants or flowers.

Precious copy complete with all its plates, preserved in its contemporary binding.

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