Edward Donovan (1768-1837)
The Natural History of British Insects... together with the history of such minute insects as require investigation by the microscope. The whole illustrated by coloured figures, designed and executed from living specimens. London: printed for the Author and F. & C.Rivington, 1792-1813. 16 volumes, 8 (230 x 140mm). Half-titles to vols.XIII-XVI (as called for), alternative title to vol.I (dated 1802) bound with 7 preliminary leaves at back of vol.X, single errata leaves in vols.II, III, V, VI and VII, 3ll. author's advertisements at back of vol.IX. 576 Fine hand-coloured engraved plates, by and after Donovan. (Occasional light browning or spotting to plates.) Contemporary red half morocco gilt, the flat spines divided into six compartments by single fillets, lettered in the second, numbered in the fourth, the others with either vase or flower-spray tools. Provenance: William Danby (1752-1833, miscellaneous writer, Swinton Park, Yorkshire, various inscriptions, some dated 1793-1802).
FIRST EDITION, a fine unsophisticated copy from "a handsome library" (DNB). Donovan's original intention had been to complete the work in ten volumes in 1801, but with his acquisition of many further specimens and two important complete cabinets of insects the decision was taken to continue the series and a further 6 volumes were published from 1806 onwards. Swinton Park, the seat of William Danby, was rebuilt to the designs of James Wyatt and John Foss of Richmond, and in addition to the library included a "richly furnished museum of minerals" (op.cit.). Nissen ZBI 1142. (16)