An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas. Edward DONOVAN.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.

An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite… [with] China… [and] India…
An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern, and Pacific Oceans…[with] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China: comprising figures and descriptions of upwards of one hundred new, singular, and beautiful species. [and:] An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of India, and the Islands in the Indian Seas.

London: for the Author, by Bensley [or] Rivington, 1798-1800-1805.

Three volumes, quarto, with a total of 149 superior hand coloured engravings by the author; contemporary full calf, gilt with morocco labels.

"New Holland: it bursts upon our view at the first glance like a new creation"

A striking and complete set relating to the insects of the world: Edward Donovan's justly famous illustrated work on Australian entomology is one of the great rarities among the early and beautiful colour-plate books relating to Australia. This set includes the celebrated companion volumes on the insects of China and India, published in 1798 and 1800 respectively. Both of these are magnificently illustrated with highly detailed plates also engraved and coloured by Donovan.

A striking and complete set relating to the insects of the world: Edward Donovan's justly famous illustrated work on Australian entomology is one of the great rarities among the early and beautiful colour-plate books relating to Australia. This set includes the celebrated companion volumes on the insects of China and India, published in 1798 and 1800 respectively. Both of these are magnificently illustrated with highly detailed plates also engraved and coloured by Donovan.

Edward Donovan (1768-1837) was an energetic British naturalist and illustrator who founded a private museum of specimens in London said to rival the finest Royal cabinets of Europe. His work on the insects of New Holland was the last of the three works he published on exotic entomology, and features his marvellous illustrations. Significantly, he painstakingly etched, engraved and hand-coloured the magnificent plates for all of his books, producing luminous and animated depictions of creatures at home amongst native herbs and flowers. Together with its exact contemporary, Lewin's Prodromus, Donovan's work is considered one of the founding works of Australian natural history.

His study of Australian insects was principally based on specimens from the cabinet of Sir Joseph Banks: 'The assemblage of New Holland insects it comprises are inestimable, and from the unreserved access to that cabinet with which he has been uniformly indulged, he has not failed to enrich his selection for this Work'. Australian insects had been assiduously collected by Banks and Solander on Cook's first voyage, and were scientifically catalogued by Johann Fabricius as early as 1775. Banks continued to have a decided interest in exotic insects after his return, and it is interesting to note that his collection was the most important to include Australian bugs from both Cook's second and third voyage, collected by the astronomer William Bayly first with Furneaux on the Adventure and later with Clerke on the Discovery. The sale of Bayly's collection caused a minor sensation when it was announced in the public newspapers some time in October 1780, and Donovan's notes here confirm that he personally purchased several specimens at that sale, as did Banks and other great contemporary collectors.

Donovan also used other sources for describing and illustrating Australian insects, including the cabinets of Dru Drury and John Francillon, the prominent London jeweller and dealer in natural history specimens. His treatise reflects the contemporary amazement with Australian natural history generally: 'There is, perhaps, no extent of country in the world that can boast of a more copious or diversified assemblage of interesting objects in every department of natural history than New Holland: it bursts upon our view at the first glance like a new creation: the naturalist contemplates its various productions with astonishment, and is almost inclined to imagine its stores of novelty inexhaustible.'

This item can be seen in our latest catalogue.

Provenance: Miss Rigden St. Lawrence (bookplate).

Carter, Banks Bibliography, p.163; Ferguson, 408; Musgrave, Bibliography of Australian Entomology, p.70; Nissen, Zoology, 1143-5.

Condition Report: Some offsetting and light browning to a few pages, expert repairs to spines.

Price (AUD): $98,500.00

US$69,567.89   Other currencies

Ref: #4505249

Condition Report