London, J. Sowerby, 1812-1818. Two volumes in two. 8vo (23.2 x 15.5 cm). 482 pp. [I: 234, x; II: 235, iii]. 205 hand-coloured engravings (eight larger, folded), numbered 1-203, A (between 184 and 185). Number 33 used twice; no. 177 also numbered 173[bis]. Contemporary half calf over marbled boards. Spines with gilt ornamental bands, blind-tooled compartments and two black morocco labels with gilt title. Green endpapers. Edges speckled red.
The first two volumes of a series that would end, rather than be completed, with seven volumes and 648 plates. This set contains the first 205 plates, with their accompanying text. This set contains the first 205, with their accompanying text. It includes the A-plate, and the second plate 33 ( Emarginula). This may be regarded as the conchological magnum opus of the British naturalist, artist and publisher James Sowerby (1757-1822), the first of a dynasty of conchological authors and illustrators. Although not a complete set, these two complete volumes, with their separate indexes, are still very rare. Provenance: inscribed on the first blanks by Elizabeth Louisa Rogers (1861, and 1862) the first with "The gift of her Aunt Harriet" added; J. S. Thompson, 1877, and with the pictorial, malacological bookplate of Jeffrey Darl Stilwell mounted on the front pastedowns. Boards and spines rubbed; an occasional spot, some light offsetting from the plates to the adjacent text pages, but otherwise a very good set with fine plates. Caprotti II, p. 57 (221); Nissen ZBI, 3917; Ward and Carozzi, 2093.