JOHANNES BURMANNUS (1706-1779)
Thesaurus Zeylanicus, exhibens plantas in insula Zeylana nascentes; Inter quas plurimae novae species, & genera inveniuntur. Amsterdam: Janssonius-Waesbergius, & Salomon Schouten, 1737. 4 (271 x 212mm). Title printed in red and black with engraved vignette. Portrait frontispiece of the author by J. Houbraken after J.M. Quinkhard, 111 engraved plates, 87 with manuscript annotations by Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, and some further annotations to the text by Lamarck. (Plates lightly browned, occasional spotting or browning to text.) Contemporary calf gilt, gilt edges (head and foot of spine rubbed, joints split, extremities rubbed), cloth chemise and slipcase. Provenance: Jean Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet de Lamarck (1744-1829, annotations, early note at front "exemplaire annot sur les planches par Lamarck"); Franois-Vincent Raspail (1794-1878, ink stamp on title); George and Laura Gifford (bookplate).
LAMARCK'S COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION. The work was published in 1737, shortly before Jan Burman became professor of botany at Amsterdam. His sources included Paul Hermann, Van der Stel and Witsen, although many of the plates (indicated by the word 'Nobis' at the end of the polynomial) represent Burman's own work. Linnaeus, as a guest in Burman's house, was involved in the preparation of the work, going on to publish his own Flora Zeylanica in 1747.
Jean de Lamarck came to be known for his work on invertebrate zoology, paleontology and, above all, his pioneering work on evolution. However, his 'recognition by the French scientific community resulted from the publication of his Flore franoise in 1779... His innovation was the establishment of dichotomous keys to aid in the identification of French plants... This "method of analysis", as Lamarck called it, was much easier to use in identifying plants than Linnaeus' artificial system of classification' (DSB VIII, pp.584-5). In the present work Lamarck has made a number of notes in the text and supplied Linnean binomials to the plants on 87 of the 111 plates.
Raspail was both a political activist and a scientist. In later years he often boasted of having held the pen in one hand and the sword in the other... [He] belonged to a group of biologists who prepared the way for the rise of the cell theory. Although it would be too strong to call him the creator of the modern concept of the cell, the definitions and descriptions he gave of the cell are truly remarkable' (DSB XI, p.300). In the present work, the ink ownership stamp on the title takes the form of a facsimile of his autograph signature (the note recording Lamarck's ownership may be in Raspail's hand). Nissen BBI 303; Hunt 501.