London, John van Voorst, 1843-1853. 11 volumes in 11. 8vo. (21.4 x 13.6 cm). 4156, cciv pp.; illustrations in the text. Contemporary uniform black half calf over marbled boards. Spines with gilt title, volume year, and decorative lines. Speckled edges.
The English explorer and entomologist Henry Walter Bates (1825-1892) became instantly famous for his book, The naturalist on the river Amazons, published in 1863, and is equally well-known among zoologists for the discovery of Batesian mimicry and his contributions to Darwinism. The foundation for The naturalist on the river Amazons was laid in a series of publications in The Zoologist consisting of the letters that Bates wrote while collecting natural history specimens in Brazil. His book shows the influence of Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace (who travelled with Bates for nearly a year) on his ideas about natural selection, zoogeography and the origin of species. His letters in The Zoologist however, show the "raw" thoughts of Bates. They do contain many novel and exciting ideas about the habits, habitats, morphology and variation in many species of Neotropical butterflies and beetles. This series of letters started in 1850 (Volume 8). In earlier volumes of The Zoologist we meet the maturing zoologist Bates, writing mainly about English entomology. His first contribution to science is included in the first volume and discusses beetles that live in damp places. Apart from Bates' contributions, this set of The Zoologist contains a wealth of information gathered and published by other distinguished zoologists and entomologists such as Thomas Bell, A. Newton, T. V. Wollaston, and Alfred Russel Wallace. Several papers (not those of Bates) are illustrated. With the ornithological and armorial (?) bookplate "Qui potest capere capiat", of William Edwin Clegg (perhaps Sir William Edwin Clegg (1852-1932), an English footballer, politician and Lord Mayor of Sheffield). This pasted over another bookplate (of the British ornithologist J. Lewis Bonhote [1875-1922]), and yet another, small one (Rev. W. Becher, i.e., William Becher [1852-1914]). Boards a bit rubbed, otherwise a very good, clean, and nicely bound set. Cat. BM(NH), p. 2399.