Dictionnaire universel d'histoire naturelle servant de complément aux oeuvres de Buffon, de G. Cuvier, aux encyclopédies, aux anciens dictionnaires scientifiques et resument les traités spéciaux sur les diverses branches des sciences naturelles, etc.
Item ID 68464
Paris, Charles d'Orbigny, 1849. 16 parts in 16 (13 text volumes, three plate atlases). Large 8vo (23.5 x 15.2 cm). With 288 tissue-guarded, mostly hand-coloured and chromolithographed plates, after Travies and others. A few plates are tinted, or plain, as intended. Uniform contemporary green quarter calf over green pebbled boards. Spines with gilt lines, ornaments and title. Marbled endpapers. All edges speckled. The first edition of the largest and best natural history encyclopaedia of the mid-19th century, with many thousands of pages, published over an eight-year's period. The list of participating scientists is impressive. We find names such as Arago, Audouin, Becquerel, Brongniart, Deshayes, Desmarest, Alcide d'Orbigny (the author's elder brother), Élie de Beaumont, Geoffroy St-Hilaire, Humboldt, Lucas, Milne Edwards, Moquin-Tandon, Quatrefages, Valenciennes, Van Beneden and many others. The fantastic engraved plates are nearly all very beautifully hand-coloured and show great detail. Birds, reptiles, fish, butterflies, beetles and shells are well-represented. A few plates are only tinted: in particular those dealing with fossils, and one plate (on whales) is plain, as intended. The list of illustrators is as impressive as the list of authors, including Oudart (mammals, reptiles, fish), Travies (mainly birds), Blanchard (insects), Delarue (insects), Maubert (botany), Prêtre (molluscs), Vaillant, Werner, and others. According to Adler, "The herpetological entries, which include families and even some genera, are by Gabriel Bibron, Eugène Desmarest, and Charles d'orbigny, but are mostly by Paul Gervais". Boards rather rubbed. Text and nearly all plates clean, only two plates a bit age-toned and less than five with a few marginal spots. Internally a very good, unmarked copy indeed. Adler III, p. 93; Horn-Schenkling, 16577; Nissen ZBI, 4617. The rare first edition of the largest and best-illustrated natural history encyclopaedia of the 19th-century