London, South Kensington
18 November 2003
PERRY, George. Conchology, or the Natural History of Shells: containing a new arrangement of the genera and species. London: W. Bulmer and Co. for William Miller, -1811 [?or c.1817]. 2° (419 x 279mm.). 58 (of 61) hand-coloured aquatint plates by John Clarke after the author. (Lacking half title, some offsetting from plates onto text and occasional spotting or marking, lacking plates 30, 40, and 51.) Contemporary green straight-grained morocco [rear free endpaper watermarked 1817], covers with borders of gilt and blind foliate rolls surrounding central panels in gilt and blind, the flat spine gilt in compartments and lettered in one (lightly rubbed and scuffed), g.e. Provenance: Library of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. A classic work on conchology and the only book on shells to be illustrated with aquatints. The work led to a rift between Perry and his fellow conchologist George Sowerby the elder (1788-1854), who had accused him of 'fantastical conchology' and questioned Perry's classification of a number of species. Nissen notes copies with watermarks dating from 1808 to 1836; no dates are given in the text or plate watermarks in our copy, but the watermark on the endpaper suggests that this could be a later issue of the first edition. Brunet IV, 516: 'Ouvrage bien imprimé ...'; Freeman 2972; Nissen ZBI 3134.
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