Massive mammals, spectacular and exceedingly rare

Ducrotay de Blainville, H. M.

Osteographie ou description iconographique comparée du squelette et du système dentaire des mammifères récents et fossiles pour servir de base a la zoologie et a la geologie. Ouvrage accompagné de 329 planches lithographiées sous sa direction par M. J. C. Werner. Précédé d'une étude sur la vie et les travaux de M. De Blainville par M. P. Nicard. Atlas. Tome premier - quatrième. [The complete atlas].

Published 1839-1864
Item ID 77638

excl. VAT

Paris, J. B. Baillière, 1839-1864. Four parts in two. Folio (54.1 x 34.9 cm). Four title pages, five contents leaves; 323 [59; 117; 54; 93] lithographed plates of which five partly hand-coloured, and one double-sized. Contemporary black half morocco over pebbled boards. First volume's spine with four raised, gilt-rolled bands and gilt title. Second volume with a similar, blind spine. Marbled endpapers.

A very rare series, published over a long period and seldom found complete - if at all. This atlas is easily the most extensive and comprehensive comparative osteology of the Vertebrata, including both recent and extinct species of mammals, and crocodiles. Written by the French zoologist and malacologist Marie-Henri Ducrotay de Blainville (1777-1850), successor of Lamarck and Cuvier at the natural history museum in Paris. This is the complete atlas. Four text volumes in octavo, although more common, are not included. This copy has five plates partly coloured. All five show ancient, mainly Egyptian (pharaonic) representations of mammals. As far as we know, there are no records of other copies with such coloured illustrations. In any case, this makes it a work of Egyptological interest too. The total number of plates stated on the titles (329) is incorrect. The plates listed on printed contents pages match the number of plates present, and their total is 323, including six bis-numbers. Second volume re-backed; stamp removed from first and third title; a few sections irregularly toned, but mostly clean. An excellent set. Cat. BM(NH), p. 170; Nissen ZBI, 394; Wood, p. 242.

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