Paris, P. Bertrand; Strasbourg, V. Levrault, 1834-. In two volumes (text and atlas). Large 4to and folio (33.0 x 25.4 cm). Half-title to the Voyage, title to the Mollusques, half-title to the Mollusques; xliii, 758 pp.; 86 finely lithographed and delicately hand-coloured plates [numbered 1-85; 41bis; plates 83-85 not coloured, as always]. Uniform period style half calf over marbled boards. Spines with five raised, gilt-stippled bands; compartments with gilt vignettes and title. Marbled endpapers. Speckled edges.
The complete Mollusca section (shells, slugs, and cephalopods) of a very important, utterly rare, and extraordinarily illustrated monograph on the natural history of South America, being the results of seven years of travels and collecting by one of the foremost French naturalists , the French explorer, botanist, zoologist, and palaeontologist Alcide Charles Victor Marie Dessalines d'Orbigny (1802-1857). This is his magnum opus. A complete set of the scientific results of D'Orbigny's seven years of travel and exploration in South America is a true rarity, and even the individual parts, such as this one, are all very rare because the production of this work, which started two years after his return in 1835, took 15 years before completion. The fine plates are by the best French natural history artists of the period, such as Jean Gabriel Prêtre (1768-1849) and Paul Louis Oudart (1796-1860). The published results are based entirely on D'Orbigny's own collections and researches. Molluscs were special to him (in his series, Paléontologie française, he started with describing the molluscs), and he carefully examined, described, and illustrated even the smallest species, drawing important conclusions about their taxonomy, zoology, and distribution. The half-title to the Mollusques section bears the date 1835-1843, but it is known to be published in 90 livraisons, dated from 1834 to 1847 (see Coan and Kabat). Some light, scattered spotting. This work is prone to foxing, but this is by far the cleanest copy we have ever seen. Coan, E. V. and A. R. Kabat, 2400 Years of Malacology - Book Collations, pp. 31-33 (2022 ed.); Nissen ZBI, 3021.