With Eight Original Photographs of Submerged Anatomical Specimens, Only One Copy Located at Auction


(Paris: Charles Mendel, [1901]). 232 x 154 mm. (9 1/8 x 6"). 228 pp., [6] leaves of advertisements. FIRST EDITION.

Original brown printed paper wrappers, spine and parts of upper cover expertly repaired. WITH EIGHT SILVER BROMIDE PHOTOGRAPHS mounted on heavy stock, a few plates (included in pagination) and other photographic illustrations in the text. ◆Wrappers a bit soiled, leaves a little yellowed with age, ads at end rather browned, but an excellent, very expertly restored, copy of an item difficult to find in any condition, the interior clean and fresh, with well-preserved photographs.

This is a fascinating work at the intersection of science and photography in which Donnadieu demonstrates how photographing anatomical specimens under water improves the clarity of the image. Adolphe-Louis Donnadieu (1840-1911) was a professor of Natural Science at the University of Lyon and an early adopter of photography in his scientific pursuits. The present work describes the "physiographe universel" apparatus used to create his watery anatomical images and includes eight silver photographs that depict dissected rabbits, and a turtle, chicken, lizard, snake, and cuttlefish to demonstrate the results of his method. The visual comparison of the "wet" and "dry" processes here makes it very clear that Donnadieu's technique does indeed expose more detail, eliminating glare and subduing contrast to reveal more realistic texture and form. The other photographic plates and in-text illustrations show the internal anatomy of other small creatures, various photographic apparatus, and even a few images of suspended flower arrangements to demonstrate the diverse applications of Donnadieu's method. This work is extremely rare in the marketplace: we were able to locate just one copy in the auction records.

Price: $4,500.00