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Atlas et Description minéralogique de la France, Entrepris par ordre du Roi..
32 fine folding engraved plates (of which five are finely hand-colored). xii, 212 pp., one leaf of errata (recto) & approbation (verso). Folio, cont. mottled sheep (some rubbing to extremities), spine gilt, red & green morocco lettering pieces on spine. Paris: Didot l'ainé et al., 1780. First edition, and a fine copy, of the great series of maps which constitute the first geological atlas, compiled by Guettard and his disciple Lavoisier (with the later assistance of Monnet). "These maps, so far as I know, were the first ever constructed to express the superficial distribution of minerals and rocks. The gifted Frenchman [Guettard] who produced them is thus the father of all the national Geological Surveys which have been instituted."-Geikie, The Founders of Geology, p. 115-(& see the entire chapter which is devoted to Guettard and his geological achievements). In 1766 Henri Bertin, Minister and Secretary of State in charge of mining, commissioned a geological survey of France to be compiled by Guettard and his protégé, the young Antoine Laurent Lavoisier. Guettard and Lavoisier had begun collecting field notes for the project as early as 1763, and in 1767 they embarked on a geological tour of the east of France. When Lavoisier returned to Paris he assumed most of the responsibility for supervising the production of the geological maps. By 1770 he and Guettard had overseen the completion of sixteen plates, and by 1777 they had partially completed an almost equal number. According to Lavoisier's own statement, all plates dated 1766 and 1767 were prepared with his assistance. The atlas was to have contained 230 maps in all, but this total was never reached. "Presently the retirement of Guettard and political intrigues intervened, and the project was handed over to Monnet, inspector general of mines, for completion. Monnet added 16 more plates and a long text, publishing the whole as a first part of the atlas. It was issued under the joint authorship of Guettard and Monnet. All of Lavoisier's contributions were ignored, except for the first sixteen plates; the wealth of information that had been gathered was used without his permission. The feature of showing levels of geological strata was due to Lavoisier's initiative, a point Monnet chose to withhold. The former, angered by this treatment, protested bitterly, but to no avail. Monnet became his obstinate enemy, continuing to attack the new chemistry even after Lavoisier's execution… "No further instalments of the mineralogical atlas ever appeared."-Duveen & Klickstein, p. 238 (& see their Supplement, pp. 129-32, which contains additional information regarding the publication history). Fine copy and now quite rare. The green morocco lettering piece on the spine is lettered "I. Partie." Bookplates of E. Bucaille and Frederic Cheron. ❧ D.S.B., V, pp. 577-79. Schuh, Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography, 1469 to 1920, 2025-"Rare.".
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    


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