Mission scientifique au Mexique et dans l'Amérique Centrale, ouvrage publié par ordre de S. M. l'Empereur et par les soins du Ministre de l'Instruction publique. Recherches zoologiques pour servir à l'histoire de la faune d'Amérique Centrale et du Mexique publiées sous la direction de M. Milne Edwards. Septième Partie. Études sur les mollusques terrestres et fluviatiles du Mexique et du Guatemala.
Item ID 70363
Paris, Imprimerie Nationale, 1870-1902. Two parts in five. Large 4to and matching folio (36 x 28 cm). Title pages to the zoology part, the volume, the text, and the atlas; 702; 731 [1-376, 377-731] pp.; 72 lithographed plates of which 46 finely and accurately hand-coloured. Part I (text) in contemporary olive half calf with gilt-lined borders over marbled boards. Spine with five raised, gilt-stippled bands; compartments with gilt triple cadres, and two (red and light brown) morocco labels with gilt titles. Marbled endpapers. Part II (text) and plates to part I and Part II loose, as issued, in four uniform, marbled portfolios. The first and rarest work to deal extensively with the rich continental molluscan fauna of Mexico and Guatemala. A complete copy such as this one is extremely rare. There are no auction records. In 1864, two years after the start of a military campaign in Mexico, Napoleon III ordered an additional scientific expedition, modelled after the famous scientific expedition initiated by Napoleon I, to Egypt, following the military campaign in that country. In contrast to the latter, the "Mexican expedition" produced only some haphazard results, mainly because the French lost interest after the end of the war. Nevertheless, a few superb monographs were among the published results. This includes this work on the terrestrial and fluviatile Mollusca by two of the foremost French malacologists, Paul Henri Fischer (1835-1893) and Joseph Charles Hippolyte Crosse (1826-1898), the "doyen of systematic conchologists in France during the second half of the nineteenth century" (Dance, " A history of shell collecting "). It took the authors more than twenty years to complete and neither of them lived to see the complete, published work. The larger and more colourful shells are finely hand-coloured; the plain plates mainly depict the anatomy. Several plates with very small or basically translucent shells (e.g. Subulina , Succinea ) or finely sculptured (some Amnicola and Pachilus species) are wisely left uncoloured as well. One plain plate is double, but not counted. Scattered, mostly marginal foxing, a bit stronger on some explanatory leaves. The plates mostly in good to very good condition. Cat. BM(NH), p. 403 [erroneously as Crosse & Fischer], 605; Nissen ZBI, 1371, 4694. The first and rarest work on the continental Mollusca of Mexico and Guatemala