A very good copy of the earliest binominal shell book of Great Britain

Costa, E. Mendes da

Historia naturalis testaceorum Britanniae, or, the British conchology; containing the descriptions and other particulars of natural history of the shells of Great Britain and Ireland: illustrated with figures. In English and French.

Published 1778
Item ID 76811

excl. VAT

London, for the Author, 1778. Large 4to (29.8 x 23.3 cm). xii, 254, viii pp. 17 finely engraved plates in excellent original hand-colouring. 19th-century French red half morocco over marbled boards. Spine with five raised bands; compartments with gilt floral vignette and title. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt.

The first great British work entirely devoted to molluscs following the Linnaean binominal classification. Many species described and named here for the first time are still valid today. The work is useful for the British seas and islands, and the adjacent continent and coastal waters. The title page and text, therefore, is bilingual, in English, and in French. The short title on the spine is in French, proving that the work was appreciated outside Great Britain. Unusual for the time is the author's attention to even the smallest species. It was written by the British malacologist Emanuel Mendes da Costa, (1717-1791), whose unfortunate business endeavours have been described widely in malacolo-historical papers. One may say that he was ahead of his time and this work deserved far more appreciation by a much wider audience than it actually achieved. Among the list of subscribers, however, we find well-known naturalists such as John Adams, Dru Drury, George Humphrey, Thomas Martyn, Thomas Pennant, and the Dowager Duchess of Portland. Some, rather light, age-wear to the boards; some quite light, scattered, mostly marginal foxing, mainly to some text leaves; paper remnant on the front pastedown, otherwise a very good, clean copy. Nissen ZBI, 2785 [under Mendes da Costa].

Very flexible return policy
Secure payments by Adyen
Sent in 2 business days with Track & Trace
We are members of ILAB-LILA and NVvA

Recently Viewed

Advanced Search