"INCULCATED IN HIM A FIRM BELIEF THAT HE COULD HIMSELF FIND THE EVIDENCE IN NATURE NECESSARY TO SUPPORT HIS THEORIES": SCARCE FIRST APPEARANCES OF DARWIN’S EARLY FOSSIL STUDIES
DARWIN, Charles. A Monograph on the Fossil Lepadidae. BOUND WITH: A Monograph on the Fossil Balanidae and Verrucidae. London: Palaeontographical Society, 1851; 1854. Two works in one. Quarto, period-style three-quarter straight grain green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards; pp. 88, ll. ; pp. 44, 2, ll. . $4500.
First editions of these two “minute investigative researches” on barnacles, with seven engraved plates of fossil forms by James de Carle Sowerby, accompanied by keys to the images on interleaved pages, beautifully bound.
Darwin's assistance to John Morris on his Catalogue of British Fossils (1854) provided him with valuable experience and kindled his interest in formal taxonomy. Subtitled "Pedunculated Cirripedes of Great Britain," Darwin's first works on fossil remains "are still held in high regard" (Freeman, 66). "Before turning to his species work, Darwin somewhat ruefully recorded in his Journal that he had spent nearly eight years classifying barnacles and many years later, in his autobiography, he wondered whether he had been right in spending so much time on the group. He was surely thinking of the years 1851-53: the exciting discoveries had already been made and, with the notable exception of Alcippe, the novel cirripedes already described. The intricacies of systematics had begun to weary him. The process of writing his volumes took longer than he had expected, and the publication of the monographs by natural history societies, though welcomed by Darwin, did not run smoothly. Nevertheless, his efforts were rewarded with the first public recognition of his scientific achievements when, in 1853, he was awarded a Royal Medal by the Royal Society of London for his contributions to geology and natural history, and in particular his Cirripedia work… His barnacle work had undoubtedly shown him the value of minute investigative researches and inculcated in him a firm belief that he could himself find the evidence in nature necessary to support his theories" (Cambridge University). Freeman 342. Norman 590.
Only a few minor spots of foxing. Finely bound.