Marsigli, L. F. Comte de Marsilli, L. Graave van

Danubius Pannonico-Mysicus. Observationibus geographicis, astronomicis, hydrographicis, historicis, physicis perlustratus.

Published 1726
Item ID 65003

Hagae Comitum [The Hague] Gosse, Alberts, & de Hondt; Amsterdam, Uytwerf & Changuion, 1726. Six volumes in six. Imperial folio (58.0 x 40.5 cm). Titles printed in red and black. Text; six engraved frontispieces, and 283 copper-engraved plates, as well as many text engravings, engraved vignettes and capitals. Signed in the first volume by all four publishers, listing all subscribers, and numbered (#93), identifying this set as that of Adriaan Deynoot (1685-1744). Contemporary uniform full morocco. Spines with eight raised, gilt-ornamented bands, rich gilt compartments and two black morocco labels with gilt titles. Boards with gilt ornamental borders, gilt corner pieces, and gilt dentelles. Marbled endpapers. Edges marbled.

First edition of this rare, splendid and opulent work which was vastly expanded on knowledge derived from the author's own collection of natural history specimens and artifacts - Marsigli's famous Kunstkammer in Bologna. The work deals with the natural history of the Danube river, which runs from southern Germany into Austria, through Slovakia, Hungary, along Croatia, through Serbia and Romania, and along Bulgaria, towards the Black Sea. It flows through Regensburg, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and numerous other cities. It is the longest river of Central Europe. Its fauna has many endemic elements, and its waters have been a major trading route since prehistoric times. Wood: "Basic work on one of Europe's greatest rivers [...] in which [Marsigli] devoted much space to a study of the riverbed and of the waters, as well as to the flora and fauna, and geology and the mineralogy of the adjacent land." DSB: "An early classic on the natural history of the River Danube with an account (vols. IV-VI) of the animals living in it and about its course, a description of the fishes, birds and their nests, the quadrupeds roaming the banks, etc.". The volumes are devoted to cartography, astronomy and hydrography (Volume 1) with maps of the whole river and spurious astronomical observations [measurements of star positions (e.g. Polaris, Arcturus, Spica) at various places along the Danube (e.g. Vienna), Jupiter and the position of the Galilean moons (in several figures), the transit of Mercury, on 3 November 1697 and its track across the solar disc (figured), and lunar phases with 16 large figures showing the terminator relative to the moon’s craters]; archaeology and history of the settlements, towns, roads and bridges (Vol. 2); mineralogy (Vol. 3); fish fauna (Vol. 4), which includes one plate with shells, and two with turtles; avifauna (Vol. 5); and several other subjects, including meteorological and climatological observations, notes on the river's velocity, the insects occurring in and near the river, etc., etc. (Vol. 6). They are titled as follows: Tomus I, in tres partes digestus : geographicum, astronomicum, hydrographicum; Tomus II. De Antiquitatibus Romanorum ad ripas Danubii; Tomus. III. De Mineralibus circa Danubium effossis; Tomus IV. De Piscibus in aquis Danubii viventibus; Tomus V. De Avibus circa aquas Danubii vagantibus, et de ipsarum nidis.; Tomus VI. De Fontibus Danubii. Observationes anatomicae. De Aquis Danubii et Tibisci. Catalogus plantarum. Observationes habitae cum barometris et thermometris. De Insectis. Wood: “The part of ornithological plates with 74 drawings by the Italian artist Raimondo Manzini (1658-1730), including 59 birds, and 15 nests with eggs, the latter are considered the first illustrations of its kind in the history of ornithology”. In several bibliographies the plate number is erroneously stated to be 284, which probably goes back to a counting error caused by inconsistencies in the numbering of figures and the distinction between engraved plates and text engravings. Complete copies have 283 plates, as should be concluded after carefully comparing the extensive plate listings. Provenance: the former owner of this copy was the original subscriber, Adriaan Deynoot from Holland, who earned his doctorate in law in Leiden and held various offices in his hometown of Rotterdam, including Commissioner for Water Regulations. He also served several times as the city's mayor. Sir Hans Sloane was among the other subscribers. Spines with some dry patches, a few skilful old repairs, some leaf-edges slightly toned or thumbed, dampstain to the top outer margin of the frontispiece of tomus tertius, but overall a fine, complete, and clean copy. Anker, 326; Cat. BM(NH), p. 1,247; Brunet III, 1474; Dean III, p. 284; Junk Rara, p. 178; Horn-Schenkling, 14610; Nissen IVB, 593; Nissen ZBI, 2697; Wood, p. 452.

First edition of this rare, splendid and opulent work based on the authors' famous Kunstkammer in Bologna

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