Bourguignat, J. R.
Malacologie de la Grande-Chartreuse.
Paris, F. Savy, 1864. 8vo (23.8 x 16.0 cm). 103 pp.; frontispiece and eight other lithographed plates with sceneries; eight numbered plates of which six in double suite (tinted and finely hand coloured) depicting land snails (for a total of 23 plates). Near contemporary blue morocco over blue-marbled boards. Spine with five raised, gilt-ornamented bands; gilt title, author, and date. Marbled endpapers. Speckled edges.
The only Bourguignat title with plates in double suite that we know of. It deals with the terrestrial molluscs of a region in the French Alps, around the Chartreuse monastery, north of Grenoble. The strictly anatomical Plate V and mostly anatomical Plate VII are not in double suite. Dance calls the French malacologist Jules-René Bourguignat (1829-1892) the "Bête noir" in French conchology. "Bourguignat maintained that a species should be determined on arbitrarily chosen characters ... and if a shell was found to differ from all others by three characters or more it should be considered new to science. ... By exploiting it energetically, Bourguignat was able to describe nearly a thousand so-called new species from European and African localities" (Dance). Althogh his method was unscientific, he did describe and name far more valid species than believed by his critics. The number 47, on the spine refer to the numbered list of papers in Oeuvres scientifiques de M. J.-R. Bourguignat, published by Servain. As with most of Bourguignat's papers only published in 100 copies, therefore rare. A copy with the malacological plates in double suite, however, must be even rarer. Nissen only lists a copy with 17 plates. Provenance: stamp of the American malacologist Richard Irwin Johnson (1925-2020) in the top margin of the half-title and title page. An occasional weak spot, more so on the endpapers and half-title, but generally surprisingly clean; the colouring accurate. Caprotti II, p. 11 ; Dance, S. P. A History of Shell Collecting, pp. 163-164. Nissen ZBI, 505.