14 November 2007
WILKES, Benjamin (fl.1740-1750). One Hundred and Twenty Copper-plates of English Moths and Butterflies representing their changes into the Caterpillar, Chrysalis, and Fly states, and the Plants, Flowers, and Fruits, whereon they feed. London: Benjamin White, 1773.
4° (320 x 258mm). 120 hand-coloured engraved plates by Wilkes after Wilkes (the butterflies, moths, and larvae), Georg Dionysius Ehret and Jacob van Huysum (the background plants). (Lacking half-title, very light offsetting, spotting and browning on a few plates, plate CII bound upside-down.) Contemporary green morocco gilt (rubbed and scuffed).
A FINE COPY of the second edition of English Moths and Butterflies, illustrating all three stages of each specimen's development, and also showing each insect with its food plant. The author makes it clear that his work is equally about the flowers and plants on which the butterflies and moths depend (etched by Wilkes after drawings by Ehret and van Huysum), as it is about the insects themselves. "Following an invitation by a friend to a meeting of the Aurelian Society, Wilkes became a member and proceeded to form his own collection of English lepidoptera, making sketches of the various stages in the life histories of many species as possible. Encouraged by Mr. Joseph Dandridge, who was also a patron of Albin, Wilkes decided to begin publication of the notes on the native lepidoptera which he had compiled over a period of ten years, illustrating these with his own drawings" (Lisney 185-186). Nissen ZBI 4410a.
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