"A MUSEUM OF SKULLS… LARGER THAN ALL THE COLLECTION IN BRITISH PUBLIC MUSEUMS PUT TOGETHER": DAVIS' CRANIA BRITANNICA, 1865 FOLIO FIRST EDITION, WITH 60 ENGRAVED PLATES
DAVIS, Joseph Barnard. Crania Britannica. Delineations and Descriptions of the Skulls of the Aboriginal and Early Inhabitants of the British Islands. London: for the Suscribers, 1865. Two volumes. Folio (11-1/2 by 15 inches), contemporary three-quarter brown morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled boards and endpapers, top edges gilt. $2500.
First edition, with plate volume containing 60 full-page engraved plates of skulls on heavy stock, in addition to numerous in-text illustrations. A handsome copy.
A craniologist and medical practitioner, Davis "for many years devoted himself to craniology, and gradually collected a museum of skulls and skeletons of various races, nearly all with carefully recorded histories, larger than all the collections in British public museums put together. He spared no time, labor, or money in achieving this object, and was unwearied in his correspondence with travelers, collectors, and residents in foreign lands. In 1856 he commenced, in conjunction with Dr. John Thurnam, the publication of Crania Britannica. Supported by a grant from the Royal Society they traveled abroad to gather material to compare with British specimens, many excavated from burial mounds, seen as representing the various races which made up the British population" (DNB).
Expert restoration to contemporary morocco bindings. An attractive copy, plates bright and fine.