19 November 2002
Thomas Martyn (fl.1760-1816).
Pysche Figures of Non descript Lepidopterous Insects or Rare Moths and Butterflies from different parts of the World. London: 1797. 4° (330 x 270mm). Engraved title in English and French. 32 hand-coloured stipple engraved plates each with double-rule yellow borders. The first two plates, with specimens numbered. (Without text, title lightly spotted, lower margin of last two plates slightly stained.) Contemporary green morocco, covers ruled in gilt and blind extremities slightly rubbed, later end papers. Provenance: Earl of Derby, sale Christie's 1958.
A FINE COPY OF ONE OF THE RAREST BOOKS ON BUTTERFLIES BY ONE OF THE MOST EXTRAORDINARY NATURALISTS OF HIS DAY. The latest census of copies by Francis Griffin and Howard Swann in 1985 (Archives of Natural History, vol 12, 1980) lists 28 surviving examples, of which only 12 copies are complete with 32 plates, the census lists 3 copies on vellum (cost 30 guineas), one with gold ruled borders. (This last copy, the Salvin --Godman --Fattorini copy was sold at Sotheby's 8th May 2002, lot 23) Some of the fragmentary copies have text in English and French probably issued later, several copies have original wrappers bound in, but this copy appears to be one of the only copies with yellow ruled borders, reflecting an intermediate superior quality level between the vellum and ordinary copies.
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