ABBOT, John (1751-1839) and Sir James Edward SMITH (1759-1828). The Natural History of the Rarer Lepidopterous Insects of Georgia. London: T. Bensley for J. Edwards, Cadell and Davies, and J. White, 1797.
2 volumes, 2° (424 x 323mm). 104 hand-coloured engraved plates by John Harris after Abbot, some heightened with gum-arabic. Parallel text in English and French, with index also in Latin. (Faint offsetting to text of last plate, a couple of plates with minor light spotting.) Uncut. Contemporary half calf (rebacked, new red and green spine labels, edges scuffed, corners repaired). Provenance: George Savile Foljambe (bookplate).
A HANDSOME COPY WITH WIDE MARGINS AND FINE COLOURING. This is the only published work by John Abbot, an 'assiduous collector and an admirable draftsman of insects.' Born in Turnham Green, in 1751, Abbot went to Virginia in 1773, then travelled south to Georgia in 1775, where he spent much of his long life compiling a scientific record of local birds and insects. To publish in London, the American entomologist needed the co-operation of Sir James Smith, co-founder and first president of the Linnean Society. Smith, in the preface, praises him highly as the first author 'since the celebrated, though not very accurate, Merian,' to illustrate and describe the lepidoptera of the American continent scientifically, including both representations of the caterpillars and 'the plants on which each insect chiefly feeds.' Arnold Arboretum p. 27; Nissen ZBI 2; Dunthorne 287; Sabin 25. (2)