A Fine and Handsomely Bound Copy of Perhaps The Key 18th Century British Zoological Book

THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.

(London: J. and J. March for The Cymmrodorion Society, [1761]-66). 565 x 385 mm. (22 1/4 x 15 1/8"). 7 p.l., 162 pp., [2] leaves (index). FIRST EDITION.

GORGEOUS RECENT DEEP BLUE MOROCCO, VERY ELABORATELY GILT, covers with dense border of gilt rules and floral rolls, inner sides with repeating gilt tools of sunflowers and perched birds with open wings, raised bands and compartments heavily gilt, one red morocco label with gilt lettering, gilt turn-ins, new marbled endpapers, EDGES UNTRIMMED. With 132 HAND-COLORED PLATES engraved by Peter Mazell after Barlow, Peter Brown, Charles Collins, F. A. Desmoulins, George Edwards, G. Haulner and Peter Paillou, and colored by Paillou. Title page and dedication printed in red and black. From the library of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale, though without his bookplate (see below). Anker 392; Ayer/Zimmer, pp. 487-88; Mullens & Swann, pp. 465-66; Sitwell, "Fine Bird Books," p. 131; Wood, p. 515. Covers with traces of leather preservative, but the binding with few signs of wear and making an exceptionally lovely appearance on the shelf. Light to moderate offsetting from plates, occasional light marginal thumbing or soiling, other minor imperfections, but IN FINE CONDITION, the paper very crisp and clean, and the plates especially well preserved.

Celebrating the fauna of the British Isles with 11 plates of mammals and 121 plates of birds, this was the first major work by one of the most prominent British naturalists of the 18th century, and perhaps the most famous such figure before Darwin. Published by the Cymmrodorion Society, a Welsh organization established in 1751 for the promotion of "Useful Charities, and the Knowledge of Nature, among the Descendants of the Ancient Britons," this work was originally issued in four parts from 1761-66 (with 107 plates), followed by a supplement also published in 1766 (with 25 plates)--all of which are present here. Though it was initially published anonymously (the bibliographies noting that the author's name did not appear on the title until the fifth edition), the preface here gives a strong indication of the author's personality and ethos, asking readers, "what knowledge can be more useful than of those objects with which we are most intimately connected? And where can we reason with greater certainty than in our own country?" The work precipitated Pennant's admission into the Royal Society in 1767. Our author was especially indebted to the work of British naturalist John Ray, who made significant contributions to the field of taxonomy, and whose classification system is used in the present work. Born into a prominent Welsh family, Pennant (1726-98) developed a love of natural history from an early age and published articles on earthquakes, fossils, turkeys, penguins, and tortoises before embarking on the present work. In addition to publishing other books on natural history, including an important work on Arctic fauna, Pennant also traveled extensively around Britain and wrote a particularly lauded "Tour of Scotland," which was much admired by Samuel Johnson. According to DNB, "Pennant's travels and natural history are distinguished by his personal energy, a keen observational sense, and by methodological organization and attention to facts. In such ways, and in his friendship and widespread correspondence with others of like interests throughout Britain and Europe, he may be said to exemplify those gentleman scholars of nature in the later eighteenth century whose interests in natural knowledge aimed at national improvement through intellectual enquiry." Previously present bookplates were lost when our volume was rebound, but we know from its sale at Christie's in 2006 (for the equivalent of approximately $33,500) that it comes from the library of Hugh Cecil Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale (1857-1944), a sportsman, car enthusiast, and one of the richest men in the England of his day.
(Lhi21032)

Keywords: Zoology

Add to Cart Price: $55,000.00

PJP Catalog: Natural History.020

THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY. THOMAS PENNANT.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.
THE BRITISH ZOOLOGY.