LAVOISIER, Antoine Laurent (1743-94). "Analyse du Gypse." In: Mémoires de mathématique et de physique. Volume 5, pp. 341-357. Paris: Imprimerie Royale, 1768.
4o (257 x 190 mm). Contemporary mottle calf, spine gilt. Provenance: Charles Bonnet (1720-1793, signature on title), Swiss biologist and natural scientist.
FIRST EDITION, JOURNAL ISSUE, OF LAVOISIER'S FIRST CONTRIBUTION TO THE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES. "Lavoisier's earliest chemical investigation, his study of gypsum, was mineralogical in character; begun in the autumn of 1764, it was intended as the first paper in a series devoted to the analysis of mineral substances... 'I have tried to copy nature,' Lavoisier wrote. 'Water, this almost universal solvent... is the chief agent she employs; it is the one I have adopted in my work.'.. Analysis convinced him that this gypsum was a neutral salt, a compound of vitriolic (sulfuric) acid and a calcareous or chalky base... He further demonstrated that gypsum, when transformed by strong heating into plaster of Paris, gives off a vapor, which he showed to be oure water, making up about a quarter of the weight of gypsum... This first paper, which in so many respects embodies the quantitative methods Lavoisier was to employ in his later work, had in fact been anticipated by others..." (DSB). Other essays in the Mémoires include works by Chevalier, Muller and Boucher. The entire volume is illustrated with 20 engraved folding plates.
A FINE PROVENANCE: Charles Bonnet's own essay, "Recherches sur la respiration des chenilles," occupies pp.276-303. Bonnet was only 26 when he made his greatest discovery: the parthenogenesis of the aphid. He also extensively studied insects, and became a true theoretician of biology, exercising an enormous influence in this field.