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Theorie des resemblances. 3 vols. Presentation copy
Paris: Treuttel & Wurtz, 1831-44. Gama Machado, Jos?oachim de (1776-1861). Th?ie des ressemblances, ou essai philosophique sur les moyens de d?rminer les dispositions physiques et morales des animaux, d'apr?les analogies de formes, de robes et de couleurs. 3 vols., 4to. 36 hand-colored lithograph plates: 20 (of 21) in Vol. I, 11 in Vol. II and 5 in Vol. III. Lacking plate 15 in Vol. I but with an additional unnumbered plate ("Cimiti? des fourmis") not cited in the volume's plate list; Vol. II with a duplicate of the plate illustrating "Similitudes d'origine" in Vol. III; Vol. III with 2 plates ("Mythologie indienne" and an untitled plate opposite p. 138) not cited in the volume's plate list. Paris: Treuttel & W?, 1831-44. 295 x 228 mm. (Vol. I); 300 x 230 mm. (Vol. II); 333 x 250 mm. (Vol. III). 19th century red moir?loth, light wear at spines and corners, a few signatures starting in Vol. III. Some occasional foxing, light toning, some marginal dampstains in Vol. I, but on the whole very good. Presentation copy, inscribed by Gama Machado to Portuguese statesman and diplomat Rodrigo da Fonseca de Magalhaes (1787-1858) in all three volumes: "A son Excellence Monsieur le Conseiller d'état Rodrigo da Fonseca Magalhaes, Pair du Royaume. Hommage très respectueux de l'auteur J: J: da Gama Machado." Some additions and corrections in Gama Machado's hand in Vol. I.First Edition of one of the most curious and bizarre illustrated works of natural history ever published. Issued in a very small edition, it is particularly rare with colored plates. A fourth volume (not included here) was published in 1858; this volume is extremely scarce, with only one copy (Bibliothèque nationale) recorded in OCLC. Gama Machado was a native of Portugal who spent the last 55 years of his life in Paris, serving part of that time as councilor to the Portuguese embassy. An amiable eccentric, Gama Machado loved birds; he was often seen strolling the boulevards of Paris accompanied by one or more of the feathered creatures, and never traveled anywhere without his favorite parrot. After studying homeopathy, phrenology and physiognomy, Gama Machado took up natural history at the age of 50, familiarizing himself with the works of contemporary naturalists, comparative anatomists and embryologists. He developed a theory, expounded in the Théorie des ressemblances, that animals having the same form, color and outward appearance will also share the same habits and customs (a vague foreshadowing of ecological niche theory). Gama Machado's ideas were particularly influenced by the Renaissance physiognomist Giambattista Porta, who wrote about the "doctrine of signatures" and attempted to establish a scientific basis for the correspondence between external form and internal character by analyzing the likeness of various human features to those of animals. The Théorie des ressemblances illustrates Gama Machado's theories with striking plates done after his own drawings, illustrating (for example) the similarities between hyenas and bulldogs, brightly colored parrots and similarly colored flowers or insects, owls and moths, seals and basset hounds. One remarkable plate, titled "Gradation regulière de l'homme," shows what appears to be an evolutionary sequence from frog to orangutan to "homme sauvage" (wild man); another shows Gama Machado, bird perched on shoulder, playing chess with the Siamese twins Chang and Eng.Gama Machado presented this copy to Portuguese statesman Rodrigo da Fonseca Magalhães, one of the country's most important liberal political figures. The presentation took place some time after October 22, 1847, the date when da Fonseca Magalhães was made a Peer of the Realm ("Pair du Royaume"). Nissen, Zoologische Buchillustration, 1472. British Museum (Natural History) II, 637.
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Last Found On: 2013-03-23           Check availability:      ABAA    


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