MERIAN, Maria Sibylla. Dissertatio de generatione et metamorphosibus insectorum Surinamensium. Dissertation sur la Generation et les Transformations des Insectes de Surinam, French translation by 'Jean Rousset de Missy' [i.e. Baron Ivan Nestesuranoi]. The Hague: Pierre Gosse, 1726.
2° (522 x 360mm). Text in Latin and French. French title-page in red and black with engraved vignette by D. Coster, dedication with large engraved vignette after F. Ottens, engraved frontispiece and 72 engraved plates COLOURED IN A CONTEMPORARY HAND by Joseph Mulder, Pieter Sluyter, and D. Stoopendaal after Merian. (Marginal spotting, tear in one margin, another with old repair). Rebound in calf, contemporary calf spine laid-down, and preserving endpapers and some of the covers (rubbed, binder's blanks worn with some repairs).
FIRST FRENCH EDITION. A TALL COPY OF 'THE MOST MAGNIFICENT WORK ON INSECTS SO FAR PRODUCED' (P. Dance, The Art of Natural History, London: 1989, p. 50). 'Her portrayals of living insects and other animals were imbued with a charm, a minuteness of observation and an artistic sensibility that had not previously been seen in a natural history book'; if Gould and Audubon have 'a spiritual ancestor, then it is difficult to think of a more worthy claimant to the title than Maria Sibylle Merian' (op. cit. p. 51). Merian's 'artistic groupings of the insects amidst the tropical flora makes this book one of the most beautiful and unusual in the whole range of natural history' (Landwehr Dutch Books with Coloured Plates, p.28). The Metamorphosis resulted from Merian's trip with her daughter Dorothea to Surinam in 1699. The two women spent two years studying and recording plants and insects, returning to Amsterdam with a series of finished drawings on vellum, sketches, and specimens, from which they continued to work. The first edition of their labours appeared in 1705 in Latin. Later editions, as this third edition, the first in French, contain 12 additional plates by Merian's older daughter Johanna. The preliminaries of this copy vary from the collation in Hunt: this copy includes the frontispiece and dedication to Mendoza, but not the Latin title or the interpolated dedication to B. Scott found in some copies. Dunthorne 205; Hunt 467; Nissen BBI 1341; cf. Great Flower Books p.67; Oak Spring Flora 101.