Very rare double suite copy, finely coloured edition of this early work on Mediterranean shells

Cantraine, F.

Malacologie Méditerranéenne et littorale, ou description des mollusques qui vivent dans la Méditerranée ou sur le continent de l'Italie, ainsi que des coquilles qui se trouvent dans les terrains tertiaires Italiens, avec des observations sur leur anatomie, leurs moeurs, leur analogie et leur gisement. Ouvrage servant de faune malacologique Italienne et de complément a la Conchiologia fossile subapennica de Brocchi.

Published 1840
Item ID 74979

excl. VAT

Bruxelles, M. Hayez, 1840. Large 4to (27.8 x 21.1 cm). 173 pp.; 12 engraved plates of which six finely hand-coloured (double suite). Near contemporary half calf over marbled boards. Spine with gilt title.

A well-bound copy of a very rare and important publication on Mediterranean molluscs by the Belgian malacologist François Joseph Cantraine (1801-1863), with the plates in double suite, hand-coloured, and plain. With the descriptions of new species. The work is particularly important for its fine illustrations of living animals and shells of often new or poorly known species (e.g., Pteropoda and Nudibranchia, but also Helicidae). Even the smaller species are figured in great detail. We have seen a double suite copy only once before. Usually, this work is dated as from 1841, perhaps because Volume 13 of the Mémoires of the Académie royale in Brussels were published in that year. This, however, is an offprint - or, rather, preprint, dated 1840, and there is no reason to doubt that it was published in that year. Some plate references, e.g., to Plate VII are incorrect. Lacks a single page 'Table alphabetique', here added in pencil in an old hand. Perhaps none of the offprints had an index, because a second volume was projected, but never published. Provenance: Library of Middlebury College, written in an old hand in the title page top margin; stamp of the American malacologist Richard Irwin Johnson (1925-2020) just below. Withdrawn stamp on front pastedown and free endpapers; some light, marginal spots to a few plates; light offsetting to Plates II-III; a few, insignificant spots, but generally clean. Colouring very good. Caprotti II, p. 15 (179); Not in Nissen.

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