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MERIAN, Maria Sibilla (1647-1717) De Europische Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730. [Bound with:] – Over de Voortteeling en Wonderbaerlyke Veranderingen der Surinaamsche Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730.
MERIAN, Maria Sibilla (1647-1717) De Europische Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730. [Bound with:] – Over de Voortteeling en Wonderbaerlyke Veranderingen der Surinaamsche Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730.
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No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium. Frederick du Cane Godman (1834-1919). Christie’s is honoured to be able to offer the final remaining portion of Fredrick Godman’s library. Godman, lepidopterist, entomologist and ornithologist, had a thirst for life and curiosity about the world that is fully reflected in his books. Godman’s obituary in The Ibis remembered him as ‘devoted to open air life, sport and travel and [having] used his natural inclination and his large private means to the permanent advance of knowledge. His cheerful and kindly disposition [making] him universally beloved.’ He travelled a great deal, particularly to the Ottoman lands, while later sailing his yacht into the Black Sea to witness the Crimean War at first hand. Hence it is no surprise that his collection includes such books as Simpson’s The Seat of War in the East (lot 734) and Lefebvre’s Voyage en Abyssinie (lot 729). Later, he accompanied H.J. Elwes (see lot 742) on a plant-hunting trip to India. Godman’s rigorous scientific education was to have a major impact on his life. When Godman went up to Cambridge in 1853, he met Osbert Salvin who inspired his love of natural history. The two young men frequently attended informal meetings where natural history acquisitions were discussed. These two, along with Alfred Newton and Lord Lilford (see lot 740), were co-founders of the British Ornithological Union (BOU), the first society to be entirely devoted to birds as opposed to zoology in general. The BOU’s journal, The Ibis, became a compelling record of the state of ornithology in particular, and the natural world in general. It was brought to life by some of the most accomplished artists of day, including Joseph Wolf (see lot 735). With his family fortune, Godman went on to fund an enormous number of expeditions and publications. Together with Salvin as co-editor and part-author, Godman's most important work was The Biologia of Central America. It was inspired by Darwin’s On The Origin of Species (see lot 721) and the travels and observations of Alfred Russel Wallace (see lot 727), and served to demonstrate their conviction that a careful examination of the flora and fauna of Central America would throw some light on the distribution of species and its bearing on evolution. Besides his work for the BOU, Godman was also elected a fellow of the Zoological Society (for many years he was Vice President and a member of Council), as well as President of the Entomological Society, a Gold Medallist of the Linnean Society and the British Museum, and Oxford University awarded him an honorary degree. He was also a fellow of the Geological and Royal Geographical Societies. Godman was an inveterate collector, and amassed early Iranian pottery, Iznik pottery and Hispano-Moresque ware which was later donated to the British Museum. His interests spanned all areas of natural history, and he established an important garden at his house, South Lodge, near Horsham Sussex. It is no surprise to find works in the library on rhododendrons (lot 730) and orchids (lots 722 and 736), both of which he assiduously cultivated. Godman also maintained strong scientific connections, corresponding with Darwin about his Expression of the Emotions (see lot 725), and even marrying the sister of H.J. Elwes. Godman started life as a weak child – he was removed from Eton at an early age and tutored privately – but went on to great achievements in an age that was full of achievers, involved in a myriad of projects until his death at the age of 86.
MERIAN, Maria Sibilla (1647-1717) De Europische Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730. [Bound with:] – Over de Voortteeling en Wonderbaerlyke Veranderingen der Surinaamsche Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730.

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MERIAN, Maria Sibilla (1647-1717) De Europische Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730. [Bound with:] – Over de Voortteeling en Wonderbaerlyke Veranderingen der Surinaamsche Insecten. Amsterdam: J.F. Bernard, 1730.

First folio edition of these fundamental works by Merian, with the joint bookplate of Osbert Salvin and Godman, suggesting this work was part of their reference library for their work Central America. First edition in Dutch of the first work. Previously published in quarto format only, these editions were seen through the press by Merian's daughter, Johanna Helena, who added another 12 plates to this second Dutch edition of Metamorphosis insectorum surinamensium, and appear here in print for the first time. 'Artistic groupings of the insects amid the tropical flora makes this book one of the most beautiful and unusual in the whole range of natural history' (Landwehr p.28). De Europische insecten was first published in Nuremberg as Der Raupen wunderbare Verwandelung und sonderbare Blumennahrung, in two volumes, 1679-1683, before the artist/naturalist had left her native Germany for Holland. It was her first book, demonstrating the early development of her passionate interest in insects and their transformations. Dunthorne 205; Hunt 483 and 484; Landwehr Dutch Books with Coloured Plates 130 and 136; Nissen BBI 1342 and 1341.

2 works bound in one, folio (505 x 360mm). First work: half-title, title printed in red and black, engraved allegorical frontispiece, title-vignette, 184 finely engraved copper plates on 47 leaves after (text lightly spotted, only occasional spots on plates, a little stronger on first few plates, light smear mark between engraving IV and VII); second work: engraved title-vignette, 72 engraved plates after Merian by J. Mulder, P. Sluyter und D. Stoopendael, of which 39 are hand-coIoured, 2 part-coloured only, and 31 uncoloured (lacking the frontispiece, lightly spotted, occasional light thumb-soiling). Contemporary calf gilt (front joints cracked but cords holding, worn). Provenance: Osbert Salvin and Frederick du Cane Godman (joint bookplate).
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