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Complete fourth series (reptiles & amphibians) of Buffon's seminal work

[BUFFON, Georges Louis Leclerc and] Bernard Germain Étienne de la Ville-sur-Illon, comte de LACÉPÈDE.
Histoire naturelle des quadrupèdes ovipares et des serpens [= Histoire naturelle, vols. XXXVII-XXXVIII].
Dordrecht, A. Blussé and son, 1799. 2 volumes. 4to. With 63 full-page engraved plates. 19th-century uniform half calf, gold-tooled spines.
€ 2,500
The reptile and amphibian section of Buffon's monumental work on the general and particular natural history. Many species (frogs, snakes, lizards, salamanders, turtles, etc.) are depicted in their natural habitat. The work is here in the new edition published at Amsterdam and Dordrecht, the only quarto edition to rival the original French Imprimerie Royale edition. The last 2 leaves in vol. 1 give a list of the plates for both volumes.
Georges Louis Leclerc (1707-1788) -- in 1717 his father became Comte de Buffon and Louis XV later made Georges Comte de Buffon -- was an inconspicuous student who only showed a special talent for mathematics. Initially he combined a career in finance with one in science, translating important works by Hales and Newton into French. In 1739 Buffon became director of the Jardin du Roi, later the Jardin des Plantes, and the Histoire naturelle may have originated as a description of the royal collection. It appeared from 1749 to 1804 and eventually comprised 44 volumes. Buffon was assisted among others by the anatomist Louis Daubenton, and the final volumes were completed after his death under the direction of Comte de Lacépède.
From the Stedelijk Gymnasium Bibliotheek, with its stamp on title-pages and a few flyleaves. The present series on reptiles and amphibians had been followed (rather than preceded) by the series on minerals, so that the bindings are numbered 25 and 26. Bindings show some wear and abrasions.
Landwehr, Coloured plates 45; Nissen, ZBI 678; Schuh's Biobliography of mineralogy (online ed.), Buffon no. 4.
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Natural history  >  Reptiles & Amphibians | Zoology (General incl. Faunas)