London, West, Newman & Co. (for the author) [AND] Penang [George Town], D. Logan, 1882-1886. 12 parts in one. 4to (31.6 x 24.7 cm). xvi, 482, [iv] pp.; 129 woodcuts, 46 fine chromolithographed plates [numbered I-XLIV, XXVIIa, XXVIIb]. Contemporary olive, gilt-bordered morocco over marbled boards. Spine with five raised, gilt-bordered bands and gilt title. Marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt. Original printed wrappers (12) bound in.
A rare and superbly produced monograph on the spectacularly colourful and often wonderfully shaped diurnal butterflies of the Malay Peninsula, including many species that were new. In total, 503 species are described in 143 genera. Alfred Russel Wallace wrote: "[they] are most admirably executed in chromo-lithography. Some of the figures, indeed, are hardly to be distinguished from good hand-colouring. The descriptions are full and careful...". Some of the species covered are endemic to the region but many occur throughout the Malay Archipelago and South-western Asia. This copy contains the original front wrappers bearing additional information on the publication process, including dating of the parts, as well as anomalies in the distribution of plates. Part XII is described as a "double part". This is the magnum opus of the British entomologist William Lucas Distant (1845-1922). "A whaling trip with his father in 1867 (he considered 5 August 1867 as the most eventful day in his life) to the Malay Peninsula aroused his interest in natural history, and resulted in the publication of Rhopalocera Malayana (1882-1886), a description of the butterflies of the Malay Peninsula." (Wikipedia). In later life he became the foremost expert in Hemiptera, or true bugs. Page 358 erroneously numbered 338. A very good, clean copy with the original wrappers bound in. Horn-Schenkling II(1), p. 603; Nissen ZBI, 1114.