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Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi.
Paris, l' Imprimerie Royale, Hôtel de Thou, Plassan, 1749-1804. 44 volumes. 4to (248 x 185mm). With 1 engraved portrait of Buffon, 4 folded tables, 12 engraved maps and 1261 engraved plates. Contemporary uniform calf, richly gilt decorated spines with red and green gilt lettered labels, sides with gilt borders. A fine uniformly bound set of the rare first edition including the posthumously published volumes written by Lacépède on fishes, amphibians, snakes and whales. A well preserved set, of this great classic on natural history, dealing almost exclusively with zoology. Buffon's work enjoyed such a popularity that numerous editions and continuations were published throughout the 18th and 19th century. These, however, should not be confused with the above sumptuously printed 'Imprimerie Royale' edition. All plates are engraved after drawings by De Sève, the famous French landscape painter. The animals are depicted in their natural habitat, together with charming landscapes, villages, mountains etc. These elaborately drawn plates, full of elegance, became very popular and were frequently imitated. The work is composed as follows: Histoire Naturelle ... 15 volumes; Suppléments 7 volumes; Minéraux 5 volumes; Oiseaux 9 volumes; Quadrupèdes ovipares et des serpens 2 volumes; Poissons 5 volumes; Cétacées 1 volume./"... he opens his great work with an essay called 'Théorie de la Terre', in which for the first time he outlines a satisfactory account of the history of our globe and its development as a fitting home for living things... This rejection of a rigid system of classification, to which most biologists of his time adhered, and Buffon's belief in the mutability of species, implied clearly some preparation for the thoughts of Darwin... Nevertheless he was the first to present the universe as one complete whole and to find no phenomenon calling for any but a purely scientific explanation" (Printing and the Mind of Man, 198). //PMM 198; Sparrow, Milestones of Science 32; Nissen ZBI, 672; Dibner, Heralds 193.
      [Bookseller: Antiquariaat JUNK B.V. (Natural History]
Last Found On: 2014-10-29           Check availability:      NVvA    

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