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Very scarce work on conchology, with 33 expertly hand coloured engraved plates

GEVE, Nicolaus Georg (illustrator) and Johann Dominik SCHULTZE.
Belustigung im Reiche der Natur.
Hamburg, Gebrüdern Herold, 1790. Large 4to. With a hand-coloured allegorical frontispiece engraved by Aug[ustin] Zenger and 33 hand-coloured engraved plates, signed by Nicolaus (Claus) Georg Geve ("C.G. Geve pinxit") showing more than 400 colourful mollusc shells and other sea shells. Contemporary gold-tooled calf. VI, 121, [1 blank] pp.
€ 15,000
First and only complete edition, including all 33 engraved plates, of Geve's natural history of shells and molluscs. While the "Erster Band" on the title-page shows that the original plan envisaged multiple volumes, Geve died shortly before publication, Schultze (who set out to finish his work) soon after, and no further volumes appeared. Thieme-Becker, p. 504, notes (translated from German): "He gained particular fame for publishing a scientific work Belustigung im Reiche der Natur, der hartschaligen Tiere und Seegewächse, which was planned in four parts and slowly appeared in instalments from 1755 onwards. He left it unfinished, and in 1790 a new edition was published "from the papers of the deceased and completed by Dr. Joh. Dom. Schultze. ... G[eve] provided 33 plates in copper engraving with 434 figures for this work, whose extremely careful colouring in water colours was much praised and remained exemplary for a long time". Copies with 18 plates, as indicated on the title-page, also occur, but the present copy contains all 33 plates that Geve made explicitly for this work.
Nicolaus or Claus Georg Geve (1712-1789), a Danish painter and illustrator, studied in Copenhagen under the official painter of the royal Danish court Johann Salomon Wahl (1689-1765). Johannes Dominicus Schultze (1751-1790), who was a German doctor and natural scientist, finished Geve's work just before his own death in 1790.
The present work is very scarce as it almost never appears on the market, we have traced only three copies at auction (including the present) in the last 100 years.
With an owner's inscription in black ink: "[...?]örch n. 140 1851" and the bookplate of "W. en M. Hofker Rueter" on the first blank flyleaf and with a partially crossed out inscription in brown ink on the final blank flyleaf: "vide Berlinische Saml. : IV Bame(?) ..." Binding scuffed, spine and corners of the boards professionally restored, very slight foxing throughout, otherwise in very good condition. Engelmann, p. 446; Nissen ZBI 1561; Thieme-Becker 13, pp. 503-504; WorldCat 7 entries, multiple copies; not in VD18 (Bayerische StaatsBibliothek cites VD18 14820676-001 but it does not appear to exist).
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Related Subjects:

Natural history  >  Shells & other Invertebrates