London, South Kensington
24 September 2008
STEPHENS, James Francis (1792-1852). Illustrations of British Entomology; or, a Synopsis of Indigenous Insects. London: for the author by Baldwin and Cradock, 1828-1846. 12 volumes, including supplement, 8° (250 x 153mm). 95 hand-coloured engraved plates by Wagstaff and others after Curtis and Westwood (some light soiling and light browning, a few clean tears, some closed). Modern cloth. Provenance: 1-page autograph letter signed by the author to "My dear Sir" (tipped-in at front of supplement) -- pen and ink drawing, signed J.W. Douglas (tipped-in on pastedown of supplement) -- Vittorio Arioli (bookplate).
Contains Darwin's first publication, a description of the Common Noctuid, or Flame Shoulder Moth (Ochropleura plecta) in volume II of the Haustellata section. "While an undergraduate at Cambridge, Darwin had sent records of insects that he had captured to ... Stephens and some of these where published in the Illustrations of British Entomology. He refers to the pleasure that he got from seeing his name in print against his records of beetles in his autobiography" (Norman). BMNH 2016; Freeman, p.19-20; Nissen ZBI 3994; cf. Norman 582. (12)
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