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SOWERBY (James) SOWERBY (James de Carle) & SOWERBY (George Brettingham). The Mineral Conchology of Great Britain; or Coloured Figures and Descriptions of those remains of Testaceous Animals or Shells, which have been preserved at various times and depths in the Earth.1812

London: Printed by Benjamin Meredith [and others], First edition, 6 vols., large 8vo (233 x 144 mm), engraved portrait frontispiece, complete with 611 hand-coloured engraved plates, each with a letterpress description (numbered 1-609: including 33 and 184 bis; 22 folding; plate 231 misnumbered 131), index at rear of each volume, volume 6 with 'Systematic, Stratigraphical, and Alphabetical Indexes to the First Six Volumes... To which is added a Short Account of the Life of the Author' (with separate title-page dated 1834) at rear, the stratigraphical indexes apparently each headed 'Supplementary Index' and bound separately into the relevant volumes, volume 2 with addenda leaf ('Additional Localities to Shells Described in Vols. I. and II', volumes 4-6 each with corrigenda leaf, volumes 5-6 without the 'Supplementary Index' or the 'Life of the Author' (these not found in other copies examined), neat repair to pp. 45/6 of volume one, some occasional light offsetting and spotting, later half morocco by Riviere & Son for Henry Sotheran, spines sunned and marked, t.e.g. Sowerby's detailed illustrations of his own fossil collection, accompanied by his engaging writing style, made his Mineral Conchology of Great Britain a classic in the field. In it, he names numerous new species and palaeontologists still cite his work in their publications. "It is still considered the supreme work of British topographical mineralogy. It is certainly the most ambitious colorplate work on minerals ever published."—Connklin. Sets of the first six volumes with all the plates as here are notably rare, this is a nice clean and crisp set. A seventh volume, containing 39 plates and never completed, appeared much later, in 1846. Nissen ZBI 3917; Ward & Carozzi 2093. Conklin, James Sowerby, his publications and collections, 1995.

Stock #40170

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