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    Sale 5428

    Travel, Science & Natural History

    23 April 2008, London, South Kensington

  • Lot 273

    Cabinet of minerals, rocks and fossils

    ARRANGED BY JAMES TENNANT, 1872

    Price Realised  

    Cabinet of minerals, rocks and fossils
    arranged by James Tennant, 1872
    a collection of 199 geological specimens (of 200, the sample of asbestos not present) in five trays, the specimens placed in small cardboard boxes, many retaining letterpress number labels, the original padding between the layers with printed mineralogy and geology examination sheets from the mid-19th century pasted on, in a mahogany case with leather straps [with:]

    [WOODWARD, S.P.] Catalogue of a Collection of Minerals, Rocks and Fossils; by James Tennant, No 149 Strand, London[.] 28th May 1872, 18-leaf manuscript, written on rectos only of 15 ll., listing 90 minerals [bound with:] TENNANT, J. Catalogue of Fossils, Found in the British Isles, Forming the Private Collection of James Tennant F.G.S. London: Taylor and Francis for J. Tennant, 149 Strand, W.C., 1858, woodcut frontispiece, with ink marginalia numbering the fossils present in this cabinet, BM(NH) V, p. 2083 (calling for 23-page 'Bibliographic List', not present here), 2 works bound in one volume, 8°, original cloth boards (disbound) [with:]

    Eight mineralogical offprints reprinted for Tennant, 6 by W. Trounce, Cursitor-Street, Chancery-Lane, 1852-1871, unbound as issued (variable spotting).
    Case 10 x 15 x 8in. (25.5 x 38 x 20.5cm.) (10)


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    James Tennant (1808-1881) was elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1838 and was appointed to lecture in mineralogy on the recommendation of Michael Faraday. In 1840 he became mineralogist by appointment to Her Majesty Queen Victoria, and as such it fell to Tennant to supervise the cutting of the Koh-i-Noor diamond for the crown jewels. His shop on the Strand was three doors down from the Geological Society of London, then at Somerset House, and in 1844 Gideon Mantell commented that 'it had become too well known to require comment' (Medals of Creation, Vol. 2 (London: Bohn, 1844), p. 987). This case of specimens was assembled by Tennant for teaching purposes, and it is a remarkably complete survival, retaining a manuscript catalogue and the printed Catalogue of Tennant's collection (which is housed within the box).

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