WILLUGHBY, Francis (1635-1672) and John RAY (1627-1705). De Historia Piscium libri quatuor. Oxford: [University Press at the] Sheldonian Theatre for the Royal Society, 1686 .
2° (381 x 242mm). Additional engraved title by Paul van Somer, 186 (of 187) engraved plates by [Richard] Hunt , several with pasted-on identification slips, 4 engraved headpieces incorporating the arms of the Royal Society opening each book, engraved Sheldonian device on title, metalcut ornamental initials. (Lacking plate N2, little dust-soiling at top edge, one plate with paper flaw in blank area, some light marginal spotting.) 18th-century sprinkled calf, gilt fillets and fleurons on sides, gilt spine with crest, crest, arms and cypher of the Sanders/Saunders family in compartments (a little worn, leather piece torn from rear board, joints splitting). Provenance: a few corrections written on plates -- [?Samuel] Sanders (d.1746; binding) -- Oswald Mosley, Bt. of Rolleston (probaby 1st; d.1751), husband of Elizabeth née Thornhaugh (armorial bookplate) -- Francis Ferrand Foljambe (stamp on title).
Second edition, a re-issue of the sheets of the 1686 first edition with an 'Index Piscium' added at the end and printed identification slips pasted onto some plates. This copy retains the original 1686 title, more usually replaced by one dated 1743. Largely the work of John Ray, the Historia Piscium was published by the Royal Society at considerable expense. The Society's President, Samuel Pepys, underwrote 79 of the engraved plates, and other members sponsored the remaining plates. Despite its importance and sumptuous production, the work was slow to sell. Royal Society members therefore received part of their salaries in copies of the book, and the Society authorised a re-issue in 1740 (published in 1743). Samuel Sanders, whose arms are on the binding, was a member of the Royal Society, and probable cousin of Cromwell Mortimer, its secretary and the compiler of the new index added to the re-issue. Keynes, Ray 46-47; Nissen ZBI 4417 (calling for 188 plates); Wing W-2879.