14 November 2007,
London, King Street
Price Realised GBP 4,750
ALBIN, Eleazar (fl. 1713-59). A Natural History of English Insects. London: for the Author and sold by William and John Innys, 1720.
4° (293 x 230mm). 100 hand-coloured engraved plates by Gucht, Hulett and Terasson after Albin. (Very light browning.) Contemporary red morocco, spine gilt and decorated in compartments with floral motifs, gilt edges (neatly restored at corners). Provenance: Thomas Forster (signature on title-page and notes on front endpaper).
FORSTER'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION of this important work on British insects. Scientist, naturalist and phrenologist, Thomas Forster (1789-1860) was a member of several scientific institutions and societies and counted not only Sir Joseph Banks, Sir Richard Philips, Herschel, but also Shelley and Peacock among his circle of friends.
Little is known of Albin, however he does give some details in the preface of the present work: "Teaching to Draw and Paint in Water-Colours, being my Profession, first led me to the observing of Flowers and Insects, with whose various Forms and beautiful Colours I was very much delighted; especially the latter, several of which I painted after the Life, for my own Pleasure ... I was introduced to Her Grace Mary the late Dutchess Dowager of Beaufort, who ... persuaded me to undertake the following Work." Brunet I, 142: "Un des premiers beaux livres d'histoire naturelle, avec planches couleur, que l'on ait fait paraître"; Freeman 45; Nissen ZBI 58.
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