The least-known of d'Argenville' s three works on shells, fossils, and precious stones

[Dezallier d'Argenville, A. J. D.]

l'Histoire naturelle éclaircie dans une de ses parties principales, l'Oryctologie, qui traite des terres, des pierres, des métaux, des minéraux, et autres fossiles. Ouvrage dans lequel on trouve une nouvelle méthode Latine & Françoise de les diviser, & une notice critique des principaux ouvrages qui ont paru sur ces matières.

Published 1755
Item ID 63831

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Paris, De Bure, 1755. 4to (28.6 x 21.1 cm). Engraved frontispiece, [6], xvi, 560 [1] pp.; 26 engraved plates. Contemporary full mottled calf, richly floral gilt spine with five raised bands and gilt lettered red morocco label. Marbled endpapers, edged red.

Next to La conchyliologie (1742, 1757) and La lithographie (1742), this is d'Argenville's most important publication, but lesser-known and rarer than the other two. It was published anonymously, as were the other two. l'Oryctologie mainly deals with corals, fossils (mainly of molluscs, and fish), minerals and precious stones, but an appendix also includes "oyseaux qui n'ont jamais eté gravés" and "Poissons de l'Amerique dessinez par la pere Plumier et qu'on pretend n'avoir jamais eté gravéz". The plates were designed by Devermont and engraved by Chedel. The frontispiece depicts Cybele with a mural crown, holding an ammonite and a coral, and with crystals and stalagmites at her feet. Light shelfwear, otherwise a very good copy; text and plates clean, with strong impressions. Ward and Carozzi 660; not in Nissen.

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