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London, Her Majesty's Stationery Office, 1886. 4to (31.8 x 24.8 cm). 186 [(iv), iv, 178] pp.; 30 fine, tinted, lithographed plates. Original dark green blind-stamped and pebbled cloth. Spine with gilt title. Brown endpapers.
The complete monograph on often amazingly shaped and beautifully illustrated diatoms, collected during the grandest and most influential circumglobal scientific cruise, and the largest natural history endeavour of the 19th century, published in over 50 volumes dealing with numerous kinds of - mostly marine - life forms. This part, being the fourth botanical contribution and the complete botany Volume II - was written by the Italian botanist and microscopist Conte Abate Francesco Castracane degli Antelminelli (1817-1899). "He was reportedly one of the first to introduce microphotography into the study of biology. His first experiments in applying the camera to the microscope were made as early as 1862 with diatomaceæ, and he subsequently made these microorganisms his chief study. He investigated their structure and physiological functions and, particularly in his last years, their processes of reproduction, also on account of its bearing on some of the problems of biology, geology, and even hydrography. The extensive collections of diatomaceæ obtained by the Challenger expedition were entrusted to him for description and classification" (Wikipedia). Many species were described and illustrated here for the first time. Some light shelf-wear, short tear in the top hinge; otherwise impeccable. Rare, especially in this very good, clean and unmarked state. We have never seen a better copy. Nissen BBI, 2381.