PIETER BLEEKER (1819-1878)
Atlas Ichhtyologique des Indes Orientales, Néêrlandaises, publié sous les auspices du Gouvernement Colonial Néêrlandais. Amsterdam: Frédéric Muller, Imprimerie de De Breuk & Smits à Leyde, 1862-1879. 4 text volumes (of 9) bound in two, large 2° (450 x 292mm) and three boxes containing the loose plates, large 2° (483 x 308mm). Half-titles, dedication, list of subscribers, 312 (of 420) chromolithographic plates, drawn on stone by L. Speigler under the supervision of Bleeker, printed by C.W. Mieling, The Hague, and later by Emrik & Binger, and Trap, at Leiden. (Lacking 108 plates, occasional faint soiling or marking.) Uniform modern antique-style sprinkled quarter calf over marbled-paper boards, gilt spines (fore-edges of text blocks lightly rubbed). Provenance: College of New Jersey (blindstamps on titles and in the margins of a few plates).
THE MAGNIFICENT AND SOLE COLOUR PLATE BOOK DEVOTED TO THE FISH OF INDONESIA, by the director of the Natural History Museum at Leiden. This is not only one of the most splendid works on ichthyology of the nineteenth century but also one of the finest ever produced. Its only rival is Bloch's Ichthyologie of 1785-1797, which is on European fish only. The chromolithographs are of exceptional quality, executed with a range of colours and a verisimilitude to nature that is quite remarkable. Bleeker chose only the finest lithographers and printers in the Netherlands to translate his drawings made in Indonesia onto the lithographic stone, and the care of his choices is evident in the finished plates. They were first issued in parts, to just 118 subscribers of part I, and ultimately extended to the 36 parts of this set. As the number of subscribers dwindled over the years and the cost of publication rose, sales of the work became restricted to large scientific institutions and libraries. Bastin notes that 'not many more than sixty copies' were issued complete with the 420 plates. Bastin & Brommer p.25, note 401; Landwehr Dutch Colour Plates 17; Nissen ZBI 409. Sold as a collection of plates not subject to return.