Nürnberg, Gabriel Nicolaus Raspe, 1781. 4to (24.1 x 19.0 cm). 32 pp.; ten very large, multi-folded engraved plates. Early 19th-century black marbled boards. Spine with gilt bands and red label with gilt title. Speckled edges.
Single herpetological contribution - and one of his rarest works - by the German physician and naturalist Christoph Gottwaldt (1633-1700), also famous for his Wunderkammer book, Musei Gottwaldiani Testaceorum Stellarum Marinarum et Coralliorum... (1782). Both works were published long after his death, but his illustrations were in accuracy far ahead of his time (see Adler). His collection of natural curiosities was purchased - also long after his death - by Czar Peter the Great of Russia. The illustrations, of turtles and tortoises, are truly excellent. Provenance: with on the front pastedown a fine, pictorial bookplate of the famous German zoologist, Darwinist and Darwin-translator Julius Victor Carus (1823-1903). Small stamp of a Swedish institute on the front free endpaper recto, and another, pictorial stamp of the same institute in the title page margin. Wear to board edges and spine ends, with small part of spine cover perished; internally very good, clean. While Gottwaldt'ssimilar Physikalisch-anatomische Bemerkungen über den Biber (1782) is fairly rare, with eight auction records in the last 40 years, we found only a single auction record for this work on turtles. Adler II, pp. 22-23; Nissen ZBI, 1658. Not in Vanzolini.