London, Sowerby, -1841. 8vo (20.0 x 12.1 cm). Two titles (one bound in the rear). 113 pp., 200 finely hand-coloured lithographed plates. Contemporary full, pebbled morocco. Spine with five, gilt-lined bands; compartments rich gilt with floral vignettes and title. Boards with intricate gilt borders, gilt dentelles and inner dentelles (by J. Wright). All edges gilt.
A very interesting copy of this extremely rare work as it has two different title pages (as given above), including one - the second - that has never been recorded before. Also, all the plates are from before numbering. This work, which has a complicated history, was published under the name George Brettingham Sowerby junior (G. B. Sowerby II). However, he is not the sole author. Several parts were actually written by his father, G. B. Sowerby I. It contains early monographs, with many new species, of three bivalve genera, chitons (Polyplacophora) - actually two monographs including one on the British species - and 14 gastropod genera and families. Most "genera" are now regarded as families or even superfamilies. Two gastropods groups are land snails; all the others are entirely or chiefly marine. Most species are colourful and from tropical regions. Cardiidae, Polyplacophora, Muricidae, Cypraeidae and Conidae are best represented. The text pagination is peculiar. Often the numbering does not start with p. 1, and many pages are without a number. The text to the cowries is different from William Dall's (incomplete) copy on the internet. According to Petit (2009: 23) "There are two versions of the Catalogue, one with 18 pages (cited herein) and one with 20, the contents being identical". This copy has the 18 (numbered) pages version. None of the plates is numbered, but within the genera the species illustrations are numbered consecutively, except in Cypraeadae [= Cypraeidae, Triviidae, Eratoidae and Ovulidae], due to a counting error by Sowerby Jr. As noted by Petit (2009: 21): "the original issues did have no plate numbers. Plate numbers were added to most of the plates as they were reprinted and/or re-engraved". Apparently, this copy is mostly in first issue; the plates being all in first issue. The breakdown is as follows: Amphidesma : pp. 7-8, 3 pls; Cardium 8 pp., 16 pls.; Nuculae pp. 3-6, 3 plates;" A catalogue of the recent species of chitones" 10 pp., 26 plates; "Descriptive catalogue of British chitones", 7 pp.; Fissurella 8, [9-10] pp., 12 plates; Bulinus pp. 5-8, 21 plates; Chilina  pp., 2 plates; Neritina 6 pp., 11 plates; Eulima 2 pp., 2 plates; Margarita  p., 3 plates; Cancellaria 8 pp., 5 plates; Murex 9 [10 blank], [11-12] pp., 23 plates; Typhis  pp., 1 plate; "Renella" [SIC = Ranella ] 7-8 pp., 6 plates; Monoceros pp. 3-4, 4 plates; Eburna  p., 1 plate; "Cypraeadae" 18, [19-20] pp., 39 plates; Conus 4 pp., 22 plates. The second title, bound in the rear, gives an exact number of species treated; therefore, it must date from 1841 (stated date) or - perhaps - later. It is not mentioned by Petit. Rubbing to the boards, in particular the extremities; hinges tender, leather dry; slight, small band of dampstaining to the top margins of a few text leaves, a bit more so on the second title. The plates nearly all wonderfully clean, only a few with a small spot or very lightly toned. A unique copy. Nissen ZBI, 3909; Petit, Zootaxa 2189 (pp. 18-26).