ILLUSTRATED CONCHOLOGY OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND, WITH 62 PLATES OF SHELLS AND MOLLUSKS
BROWN, Captain Thomas. Illustrations of the Recent Conchology of Great Britain and Ireland, with the Description and Localities of All the Species, Marine, Land, and Fresh Water. London: Smith, Elder, 1844. Large quarto, modern three-quarter blue morocco gilt, marbled boards. $2200.
Second edition, “greatly enlarged,” of this classic catalogue of mollusca, with 62 full-page plates of shells (nine hand-colored), drawn by Thomas Brown and engraved by William Home Lizars.
Having produced paintings for the first European edition of Wilson’s American Ornithology (1831, later published as separate prints in 1834) and having edited Oliver Goldsmith’s History of the Earth and Animated Nature (1832), artist Thomas Brown cemented his career as a naturalist in 1838 by accepting the position of curator of the Manchester Museum. He was later elected fellow of the Linnean Society and president of the Royal Physical Society. First published in 1827 (with only 53 plates), this enlarged edition of Brown’s splendid catalogue of mollusks of the British Isles contains 62 engraved plates executed by William Home Lizars, whose works, including those for Audubon’s Birds of America and many editions of Sir Walter Scott, “rank among the finest of the early 19th century” (Greg Peters). Lizars had begun in his father’s print shop by producing bookplates and notes for local banks, as well as views for publications catering to the Scottish tourist trade. “He constantly experimented with new techniques and, in 1821, perfected a method of etching away the background of a copper plate to produce a relief surface similar to that in a wood engraving” (Edinburgh University Library).
Plates generally very clean with only an occasional spot of foxing. An extremely good copy.