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Bed of the Atlantic. From one sounding of 12,000 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean in latitude 47º north, longitude 23º west, are taken upwards of one hundred microscopic drawings of minute organisms; beautifully illustrating "In that great and wide sea are things creeping innumerable."
SOLE EDITION of an extremely rare and pioneering work in oceanography. Commander William Chimmo, RN, commanded HMS Gannet from 1865-1868, and in 1868 was ordered by the Admiralty to define the northern limits of the Gulf Stream and to take soundings within those limits. Chimmo describes and illustrates in this book specimens brought up from 12,000 feet deep, which may have been the deepest specimens ever recovered at that time. In 1869 and 1870, HM Ships Porcupine and Lightning brought up specimens from 14,600 feet, as recounted by C. Wyville Thomson in his book The depths of the sea (London, 1873). Although Thomson covers the history of deep-sea sounding and dredging before the Challenger Expedition, he makes no mention of Chimmo.From 1956 to 1958 Chimmo, then a Captain, was secretary to the Hydrographer of the Admiralty. As a midshipman Chimmo had published Euryalus; Tales of the Sea (London, 1860), which included three consecutive voyages in search of Sir John Franklin's lost expedition.Included with this copy of Chimmo's book are the following: 1) 7 numbered leaves of pencil drawings, with captions in ink or pencil, which are probably Chimmo's on-the-spot sketches, made while he was on the voyage. The drawings are quite rudimentary, but show his important initial jottings and impressions, which could later be developed in to the beautiful plates in his book. (Slight dampstaining to corner of some leaves.) 2) A series of 9 autograph letters from the printer and publisher J.W. Maltby to Chimmo, dated February to April 1870, concerning his work for Chimmo on this book, discussing the plates, paper, binding, subscribers list, corrections, etc. The print run seems to have been 130 copies. 3) Six copies of the prospectus for the book, 10 x 8 inches, a single sheet printed on one side only. The title is different, viz: "A Pictorial Illustration of Marine Life at Great Depths" 4) A part-printed note of thanks from the Royal Society for the receipt of their copy of the book, dated 25th March 1870. 5) A similar receipt (chipped and dampstained) for Chimmo's later work, Natural History of the Euplectella Aspergillum (Venus Flower Baskets), dated 12th April 1878. 6) One of Chimmo's specimens of the Venus Flower Basket, 9 inches high, standing in a contemporary filigree holder (broken) of silver or white metal, with wooden base. Chimmo dredged for these glass sponges off the Philippine Islands. The Venus Flower Basket was recently selected by Sir David Attenborough as one of the ten creatures that he would save from extinction (in his television programme Attenborough's Ark), describing it as "among some of the most beautiful andmost remarkable organisms."4to, pp. 40, (1) subscribers list, and 14 plates lithographed by Maltby from drawings by the author (7 of which have a black background). Contemporary blue half calf and blue cloth sides (crack in lower part of joints), the upper cover with an image of an Asterolampra (Bishopii) in gilt, gilt edges, marbled endpapers. A fine copy. A FAMILY COPY, inscribed on the front endpaper "Father's Book / to Mary / from Mother/ Westdown [Weymouth] / Xmas 1904."
      [Bookseller: Nigel Phillips]
Last Found On: 2015-12-15           Check availability:      Direct From Bookseller    


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