DARWIN, Charles (1809-1882). A Monograph on the Sub-Class Cirripedia, with figures of all the species. [Vol. I:] The Lepadidae or Pedunculated Cirripedes. [Vol. II: The Balanidae (or Sessile Cirripedes); The Verrucidae, etc., etc., etc.]. London: Ray Society, 1851-1854.
2 volumes, 8° (223 x 140mm). Folding hand-colored wood-engraved plate in vol. I and wood-engraved plate in vol. II both numbered *3. 40 engraved plates by George Sowerby, 3 partly coloured. 24 text woodblocks. (Plates spotted and browned, some marginal spotting and soiling of text, 21.1 in vol. I torn at lower margin.) Orignal blue blind-stamped cloth by Westleys, gilt monogram of the Ray Society on upper covers, top edges gilt, others uncut, partly unopened (vol. I rebacked preserving old spine, spine of vol. II faded and stained). Provenance: Verney (bookplate in vol. I) -- Revd. Thomas Image (bookplate in vol. II).
FIRST EDITION of a work which began as a description of a single abnormal Cirripede from the coast of South America, 'Mr. Arthrobalanus', but turned into an examination of as many genera as Darwin could procure. To collect the specimens, examine each one under a microscope with particular attention to reproductive methods, and painstakingly record the results was an undertaking of eight years that started in 1846. Only when the second volume of 684 pages was finished did Darwin undertake his work on 'Natural Selection', the astonishing number of species and varieties among the tiny barnacles having finally altered his view that variation was an exception in nature. 'While many curators accepted that varieties were natural productions, he went further to see them as incipient species' (Desmond and Moore, ch. 24, p. 373). Freeman 339, 340; Norman 589. (2)