Item #5000942 Conchology, or The Natural History of Shells: containing a new arrangement of the genera and species, illustrated by coloured engravings executed from natural specimens and including the latest discoveries. George PERRY.
Conchology, or The Natural History of Shells: containing a new arrangement of the genera and species, illustrated by coloured engravings executed from natural specimens and including the latest discoveries.

Conchology, or The Natural History of Shells…
Conchology, or The Natural History of Shells: containing a new arrangement of the genera and species, illustrated by coloured engravings executed from natural specimens and including the latest discoveries.

London: William Miller, 1818.

Large folio, with 61 handcoloured aquatint engraved plates; quarter maroon morocco and marbled boards.

With shells collected by William Bligh

A very good copy of this classic shell-book, a striking successor to Thomas Martyn's eighteenth-century classic Universal Conchologist (1784), Perry's Conchology was the next to produce a scientific and artistic record of shells of the same calibre. Many of its new generic and specific names are now firmly entrenched in the scientific literature. It is acknowledged as one of the greatest and most handsome of English shell-books, and is the only one with aquatint plates. It illustrates shells from all of the great eighteenth-century collectors, including the collection of William and Elizabeth Bligh. First published in 1811, this is an example of the 1818 reissue, which can be identified only by the "Remarks" for the first plate being printed in 16 lines, with the word "criterion" appearing on its own in the last line, and the Index leaf at the end having the imprint of J. M'Creery.

A very good copy of this classic shell-book, a striking successor to Thomas Martyn's eighteenth-century classic Universal Conchologist (1784), Perry's Conchology was the next to produce a scientific and artistic record of shells of the same calibre. Many of its new generic and specific names are now firmly entrenched in the scientific literature. It is acknowledged as one of the greatest and most handsome of English shell-books, and is the only one with aquatint plates. It illustrates shells from all of the great eighteenth-century collectors, including the collection of William and Elizabeth Bligh. First published in 1811, this is an example of the 1818 reissue, which can be identified only by the "Remarks" for the first plate being printed in 16 lines, with the word "criterion" appearing on its own in the last line, and the Index leaf at the end having the imprint of J. M'Creery.

The sixty-one plates are finely handcoloured and record the latest discoveries, including many from the Pacific Ocean and a number 'lately brought back from New Holland', or Van Diemen's Land; one is named Pyrula hunteria by Perry 'in honour of the Governor of that colony, whose exertions in the prosecution and encouragement of its natural history have been so particularly eminent…'; a total of twenty-three specimens are from New South Wales or Tasmania; ten from New Zealand; fifteen from the South Seas; two from the Pacific Islands; and one from Otaheite.

With several examples from the collection of Colonel Patterson, most of the specimens illustrated came from private collections or museums including the museums of Mr. Bullock and Sir Ashton Lever. Among the private collections was Elizabeth Bligh's outstanding shell collection which contained many beautiful and rare examples obtained from the South Seas by her husband, William Bligh of the Bounty: shells known to have been in the Bligh collection and pictured here are the Triplex rosaria and the Hexaplex tenuis, the latter with the note that this 'curious shell is a native of the South Seas, and is from a specimen in the collection of Mrs. Bligh'.

The preface states that the engravings are based on original drawings by "Mr. John Clarke" and it is entirely possible that this is the same John Clarke (1770-1863) who worked on John Eyre's famous four-part panorama of Sydney published in London in 1810. This may also have been the John Heaviside Clark who was responsible for the preparation of the finished drawings used as coloured aquatints in Foreign Field Sports (London, 1813-14); he is recorded by Benezit as a commercial artist working in London, who exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1801 and 1832.

Forbes, 425; Nissen ZBI, 3134. See S.P. Dance: 'A History of Shell Collecting', Leiden, 1986.

Condition Report: Overall very good.

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