London, South Kensington
30 November 2001
CURTIS, John (1791-1862). British Entomology: being illustrations and descriptions of the Genera of Insects found in Great Britain and Ireland, London: printed for the author, and sold by E. Ellis and Co. [and others], 1823-1840.
8 volumes, 8° (235 x 150mm.), 3pp. list of subscribers in volume I, 770 hand-coloured engraved plates (very occasional offsetting onto text leaves, a few spots), contemporary calf (worn).
FIRST EDITION. The plates are organised systematically by order and family, rather than numerically as issued. Each plate includes a representation of a British native plant, and in many cases the various juvenile stages of the insect. The author notes in the preface to the first volume that "the plates of several of the early volumes for the greater part, and those of the last and a considerable part of the fifteenth were entirely, my own engravings, and all the others were corrected and finished by myself: the drawings also are the effort of my pencil, and the articles and descriptions are my own writing; for any errors therefore I alone am accountable". He goes on to note that by December 1839 the plates had "already cost upwards of £3000". Nissen ZBI 1000. (8)
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