Esper, E. J. C.

Die Pflanzenthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Farben erleuchtet nebst Beschreibungen. [AND] Fortzetzungen der Pflanzenthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Farben erleuchtet nebst Beschreibungen.

Published 1791-1806
Item ID 69049

(Excluding 9% VAT)

Nürnberg, 1791-1806. In four volumes. 4to (text volumes 24.2 x 19.6 cm; atlases 26.4 x 20.2 cm). Title pages, 857 [of 905 in this section] pp. Erster Theil (1791) xii, 320 pp.; Zweiter Theil (1794) 303 pp.; Fortsetzungen. Erster Theil (1797) pp. 1-116; 149-230]; Zwyter Theil pp. 1-24. 395 [of 445] hand-coloured or tinted engraved plates. Near uniform half calf over marbled boards. Spines with gilt chains and black morocco labels with gilt titles. Edges mottled.

The magnum opus of Eugenius Johann Christoph Esper (1742-1810), professor at the Königlich Preussischen Friedrichs-Alexanders Universität zu Erlangen and a noted entomologist and botanist. But this work on Cnidaria – in particular stony corals – and sponges (Porifera) is by far the most important that he wrote on his own. Using the Linnaean system, he described and illustrated an immense number of corals, as well as some Bryozoa, Echinodermata, a good deal of coralline algae, and some others. Many still bear the names he introduced. The present set, in contemporary uniform binding, consists of the first two parts and the first supplement with its index (but without pp. 117-148), as well as a part of the second supplement. The much later (1829-1830), posthumously published Dritten Theil (mostly if not completely written by Frederic Louis Hammer) is not present. Several plates are lacking, as nearly always. A complete list is as follows. Volume I: Madrepora. LXXXVII M. meandritis Esper; Millepora. XXV M. decussata Esper; XXVI M. alciconis var.; XXVII M. coriacea var., XXVIII M. lagena var. vitrea; Gorgonia. XLVII G. cerea Esper; LI G. dilatata Esper; LII G. iuncea Pallas; LIII G. umbella Esper; LIV G. pseudoantipathes Esper; LV G. elongata Esper; Volume 2. Alcyon. XX A. ficus L.; Spongia. LI S. frondosa Pallas; LII S. surculosa Esper; LXV S. papyracea Esper; LXVa S. papyracea var.; LXVI S. virgilosa Esper; LXVII S. lyrata Esper; LXVIII S. membranosa var; LXIX S. cymaeformis Esper; LXX S. plicata Esper; Tubularia. XVII T. umbellata Esper; XXII T. clavata Esper; XXIII T. clavata var.; XXIV T. spaeroidea Esper; XXV T. tesselata Esper; XXVI T. pilaeformis Esper; XXVII and XXVIII, T. indivisa or T. cornucopia (error in Ott?); XXIX T. cochlaeformis Esper; Corallina. XI C. discoidea Esper; Sertularia XXII (published? Nissen states: "23 für 22"); XXIV S. loricatula L.; XXV S. pennaria L.; XXVI S. verticillata Esper; XXVII S. argentea L.; XXVIII S. spinosaL.; XXIX S. loricata L.; Pennatula. Ia P. grisea Esper; VIII P. angentea Esper. Complete copies are ultra-rare. Pictorial bookplate of Waldemar Schwalbe, dated 1936, on the front pastedowns, otherwise a fine, clean set. Cat. BM(NH) p. 542; Nissen ZBI, 1315.

The most beautiful corals and sponges - originally described and finely figured

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