(Zürich: Brodtmann, 1824). 324 x 235 mm. (12 3/4 x 9 1/4"). 177 leaves of numbered plates including illustrated title page. Without the text volume. FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary black quarter roan over green marbled boards, vellum tips, flat spine with gilt rules, rolls, and lettering. WITH 177 HAND-COLORED LITHOGRAPHED ILLUSTRATIONS, comprised of pictorial title page and 176 plates, 17 of humans, the rest of mammals, the majority with original tissue guards. Nissen ZBI 3672. Cover surfaces and extremities somewhat rubbed, corners gently bumped, plate 136 with a cracked crease across the surface, occasional light spots on a few plates, some missing and a few torn tissue guards, otherwise a very attractive copy, the engravings generally quite clean and fresh.
This is a complete set of the plates from the scarce hand-colored first edition of Schinz's important natural history of mammals. The pictorial title page features a geographically impossible but nonetheless animated scene of an antelope being chased by lions and a tiger. Plates 2-18 are portraits of people of various ethnicities, including Native Americans, Africans, Asians, and Pacific Islanders. This is followed by a parade of mammals, from wild and exotic beasts to adorable housecats. The equine plates are especially interesting, with horses shown carrying soldiers into battle, hunting with hounds, and working on a farm. Trained as a physician, Schinz (1777-1861) taught natural history at the University in his native Zürich, where he also served as curator for the natural history society. He was a prolific and popular author of zoological works, including volumes on birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. Many of these were handsomely illustrated by one of the finest lithographers of the day, Joseph Brodtmann (1787-1862), whose works have always been admired for their scientific accuracy as well as their aesthetic appeal. Our copy of the present item stands out because the book is generally found incomplete and uncolored. (CJW1401)
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PJP Catalog: 75.200