A Conchological Manual…. SHELLS, George Brettingham SOWERBY, junior.
A Conchological Manual…
A Conchological Manual…

A Conchological Manual…

London: G.B. Sowerby, 1839.

Octavo, with 24 handcoloured engraved plates; early ownership inscriptions on the front pastedown and title-page; original cloth.

'Exquisite architecture of these wonders of the deep...'

First edition of this attractive and profusely colour-illustrated guide to shells. Shell-collecting was a most popular eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pastime. During the great era of voyaging, shells from exotic lands were eagerly sought by specialist collectors and by the genteel classes to fill the curiosity cabinets considered indispensable in the well-appointed home. Sowerby aimed this Manual at the serious conchologist and dilettante alike. In his introduction he claims that 'the study of shells… presents a fund of intellectual gratification, to many who cannot follow it beyond the cabinet and boudoir. They may examine, with admiration and moral improvement, the beautiful colouring and exquisite architecture of these wonders of the deep…'. A number of the species included in the Manual are found in Australian or Pacific waters, including Aspergillum, Ilba found on Kangaroo Island, the Myochama from New South Wales, the Nautilus, and the Stomatia, all of which are illustrated.

First edition of this attractive and profusely colour-illustrated guide to shells. Shell-collecting was a most popular eighteenth- and nineteenth-century pastime. During the great era of voyaging, shells from exotic lands were eagerly sought by specialist collectors and by the genteel classes to fill the curiosity cabinets considered indispensable in the well-appointed home. Sowerby aimed this Manual at the serious conchologist and dilettante alike. In his introduction he claims that 'the study of shells… presents a fund of intellectual gratification, to many who cannot follow it beyond the cabinet and boudoir. They may examine, with admiration and moral improvement, the beautiful colouring and exquisite architecture of these wonders of the deep…'. A number of the species included in the Manual are found in Australian or Pacific waters, including Aspergillum, Ilba found on Kangaroo Island, the Myochama from New South Wales, the Nautilus, and the Stomatia, all of which are illustrated.

George Brettingham Sowerby junior was part of a remarkable family of natural history illustrators. His grandfather James was a botanical illustrator par excellence and illustrated, amongst a host of other works, J.E. Smith's Botany of New Holland (1793) and Shaw's Zoology of New Holland. His three sons followed in his footsteps, as did three grandsons and one great-grandson.

George Brettingham junior took over the mantle of conchologist from his father, and in time passed it on to his son of the same name. He was described after his death as 'a mediocre naturalist, a shocking latinist, but an excellent draughtsman'. He went on to produce a large body of work including the completion of a number of his father's projects, the most significant of which was the five-volume Thesaurus Conchyliorum, which took three generations of Sowerbys over forty-five years to complete.

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Dance, 'A History of Shell Collecting', p. 140; Nissen, 3910.

Condition Report: Some aging but very good in original cloth.

Price (AUD): $2,150.00

US$1,584.00   Other currencies

Ref: #2903158

Condition Report