Lot 78

RÉAUMUR (René-Antoine Ferchault de). Memoirs to be used in the history of insects. Paris, Imprimerie Royale, 1734-1742.
6 volumes in-4, calf porphyry, spine ribbed and finely decorated with bird irons, triple gilt fillet framing the plates, double gilt fillet on the cups, marbled edges (contemporary binding).
1] 1 ff.n.ch., 654 pp., 1 ff.n.ch., [1] 1 ff.n.ch., XLVI pp., 1 ff.n.ch., 514 pp., [1], 1 ff.n.ch.., XL -532 pp., [1], XXXIV pp., 1 ff.n.ch., 636 pp., [1] 1 ff.n.ch., XLIV -728 pp., [1]1 ff.n.ch., LXXX -608 pp.
Original edition of the first great scientific history of insects, written by the naturalist and academician René Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757). (Nissen, 3315.)
The illustration in the first edition consists of 267 folding plates (50+40+47+44+38+48), 6 headed vignettes and 6 small decorated initials, all finely engraved in intaglio by Simonneau, Haussard, Filloeul and Lucas.
T.I and II: Caterpillars, butterflies and insects enemies of caterpillars; T.III: History of Leaf Worms, Moth, False Moth, Aphids, enemies of Aphids, False Aphids, & the History of Plant Wales, & their insects; T.IV, V and VI: History of Gallinsects, Progallinsects, & Two-Winged Flies, and the History of several Four-Winged Flies, namely, Sawflies, Cicadas & Bees.
A leading scientist of the first half of the 18th century, René-Antoine Ferchault de Réaumur (1683-1757) carried out a great deal of research on subjects as varied as geometry, metallurgy, temperature, gastric juices, and anchors (cf. in particular Dictionnaire des Arts et Métiers, 1761-1782). But it was above all to entomology that he devoted a large part of his work, as shown in these Memoirs, a true masterpiece of precision attesting to the assiduity and sagacity of its author in his observation of insects. This series, illustrated with plates of great finesse of execution and rightly considered as one of the founding works in entomology, was never finished: it remained to treat crickets and locusts and beetles ("The History of Ants" and "The History of Beetles" was published only in the first half of the 20th century - 1938-1955 - according to hitherto unpublished manuscripts).
Very nice copy. (Nissen, 3315; Brunet, IV, 1131; Quérard, VII, 481).

Location of the item
France - 75009 - paris