3 December 2010
PERRAULT, Claude (1613-1688). Description anatomique d'un Cameleon, d'un Dromadaire, d'un Ours, et d'une Gazelle. Paris: Frederic Leonard, 1669.
4o (265 x 195 mm). Printer's woodcut device on title, 5 engraved folding plates (4 by Sebastien Le Clerc and one by Abraham Bosse), decorative woodcut head- and tail-pieces (a few short tears, some soiling along folds). (Some soiling along edges.) Contemporary paper-backed wrappers, uncut and partially unopened (some wear and creasing); cloth folding case. Provenance: London, Society of Jesus (inkstamp on title).
FIRST EDITION OF THE "PARISIANS" SECOND PUBLICATION ON COMPARATIVE ANATOMY. Perrault was the leader of a team of comparative anatomists that included Guichard-Joseph Duverney, Jean Pecquet, Moyse Charas and Philippe de la Hire. They were often called the "Parisians" because of their membership in the Acadmie Royale des Sciences. Their investigations began with a thresher shark and lion from the royal menagerie and went on to encompass forty-nine vertebrate species. In the spirit of rationalism, Perrault and his team investigated and debunked many popular myths attached to certain species, such as the legend that salamanders live in fire or that chameleons subsist on air. They also recorded their methods of work along with their results, providing the only contemporary disclosure of how such anatomical research was conducted in the seventeenth century. This is the Parisians' second publication on comparative anatomy. It is illustrated with five beautiful large folding plates by the painter, engraver, and writer, Sebastian Leclerc (1637-1714), four of which were engraved by Leclerc, and one by the watercolor painter, writer and printmaker, Abraham Bosse (c. 1604-76). Nissen ZBI 3122; Norman 1686.
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