xvi, 125 pp.,  pp. of publisher’s ads. Large 4to, cont. mottled calf (a few careful repairs to upper joint & corners), triple gilt fillet round sides, spine gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. The Hague: P. de Hondt, 1756.
First edition in French (1st ed., in English: 1755); this is one of the few copies which has fine and delicate contemporary coloring. Ellis (ca. 1710-76), whom Linnaeus termed a “bright star of natural history” and “the main support of natural history in England,” was one of the earliest marine zoologists. With the Swede Daniel Solander (1733–1782), he discovered that sponges are animals.
“Ellis’s zoophyte descriptions and professionally drawn engravings, and his scientific approach, were outstanding. His two longest books, Natural History of the Corallines…and the posthumous Natural History of Zoophytes (1786, partly written by Solander), were seminal. In the 1750s he was one of the British Museum’s first noteworthy scientific visitors. He became a fellow of the Royal Society in 1754 and was its Copley medallist in 1767.”–ODNB.
The final plate depicts Cuff’s aquatic microscope. See Clay & Court, History of the Microscope, pp. 66-68.
A very attractive copy.
Item ID: 5251