11 - 13 July 2000
PERRY, George. Conchology, or the Natural History of Shells: containing a new arrangement of the genera and species. London: Howlett & Brimmer for William Miller, [no date but 1836 or later].
2° (423 x 270mm). Letterpress half-title, title, 4pp. introduction, text (61 leaves), 1p. index. 61 hand-coloured aquatint plates by John Clarke after Perry. (short inch repaired tear to lower margin of final index leaf.) Mid 20th-century alum-tawed pigskin gilt, with an overall design of a grid of interlocking lozenge shapes delineated by a stylised seaweed roll with a small scallop tool at the intersections, the lozenges containing a repeat arrangement of a group of four turreted univalve shells, a single scallop shell and a small star tool, the covers with the univalves tooled onto light blue morocco inlays and the scallop on pink morocco inlays, all tooled onto yellow morocco inlays on the flat spine, the design interrupted on the spine by the gilt lettered title and author, gilt turn-ins, vellum paste-downs and endleaves, gilt edges (very light discolouration to spine), cloth slipcase.
One of the classic English works on conchology, and the only book on shells to be illustrated with aquatints. The technically excellent binding is very much a period piece: the overall design in general and the the use of the scallop shell motif in particular calls to mind some of the designs being produced in the late 1940's and early 1950s for the fine series of informative works sponsored by the Shell Oil Company. Cf. Nissen ZBI 3134.
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