Alcide d'Orbigny's last great work

Orbigny, A. [C. V.] D. d'

Paléontologie Française. Description des mollusques et rayonnés fossiles. Terrains Jurassiques. II. Gasteropodes. Texte, Atlas. [Complete].

Published 1850-1860
Item ID 74879

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Paris, Victor Masson, 1850-1860. Two volumes in two. 8vo (21.3 x 13.2 cm [text]; 22.1 x 14.6 cm [atlas]). 623 pp.; 198 lithographed plates, numbered 235-431, 237bis. Contemporary uniform half morocco over marbled boards. Spines with four raised bands, gilt vignettes and title. Marbled endpapers.

The most important contribution to the knowledge of the Jurassic gastropods of western Europe, with the descriptions and illustrations of numerous new and poorly known species. Alcide d'Orbigny died in 1855 before the work was finished. A small part of the text then was edited by the French palaeontologist Gustave-Honoré Cotteau (1818-1894), who is better known for his work on fossil Echinodermata. On page 537 of the text volume appears the note: "Ici se termine le text imprimé avant la mort de d'Orbigny. Ne voulant pas laisser ce volume inachevé, nous avons remis à M. Cotteau qui a bien voulu se charger de les coordonner, les notes manuscrites laissées par l'auteur. (Note de l'editeur, Octobre 1859)". The plate volumes with engravings, mostly by Delarue and Levasseur, are among the finest lithographed molluscan figures produced. The plate numbering is consecutive to that of the earlier published Cephalopoda volume, but the page numbering starts anew. The series, Paléontologie Française was started by d'Orbigny and continued until 1894, treating various groups of fossils, also from Tertiary and older strata, and by different authors. For instance, Cotteau treats the Jurassic echinoderms, between 1867 and 1874. Several sections remain unfinished. Provenance: stamps of Upsula College Library and Cornell University Library (cancelled) in lower titles margin respectively titles verso. Palaeontological bookplate of Jeffrey D. Stilwell on front pastedowns. Skilful repair to the joints. Small chip to Atlas front free endpaper outer corner. A very good, complete set. The plates amazingly clean. Cat. BM(NH) 3 p. 1474; Caprotti II, p. 207; Nissen ZBI, 4739.

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