FROM ABERVADINE TO ZERDA: FIRST EDITION OF MARTYN’S DICTIONARY OF NATURAL HISTORY, WITH 100 SPLENDID FOLIO HAND-COLORED PLATES OF BUTTERFLIES, BIRDS, FISH, AND OTHER ANIMALS
MARTYN, William Frederic. A New Dictionary of Natural History; or, Compleat Universal Display of Animated Nature, With Accurate Representations of the Most Curious and Beautiful Animals, Elegantly Colored. London: Harrison & Co., 1785. Two volumes. Folio (9-1/2 by 14-1/2 inches), contemporary full tree calf, raised bands, red and green morocco spine labels. $9000.
First edition of Martyn’s illustrated dictionary of natural history, with 100 splendid hand-colored plates of birds, fish, whales and other animals. A beautiful copy of this scarce work in contemporary tree calf.
"A rare work based on the collections in the Leverian Museum established by Sir Ashton Lever in Leicester Square, London, in 1774" (Wood). Martyn is a pseudonym used on occasion by William Fordyce Mavor (1758-1834), a successful author of educational books. "Mavor was an extraordinarily industrious author and published a spate of guides, grammars, miscellanies, a sequence of admirably abridged tours, travels, and histories, a women's magazine, and a newspaper, the Oxford University and City Herald (1806), as well as numerous essays on education. A few of his works were published under his pseudonyms, W. F. Martyn and Numa. His ideas on education were liberal; 'Dry lectures seldom leave any lasting impression,' he wrote, 'but convey the moral you wish to inculcate through an interesting story … and the effect is seldom lost'" (ODNB). Four to eight images per plate. Title pages printed in black and red. Nissen ZBI, 2729. Wood 453. Lowndes, 1495. Bookplates partially removed.
Stain to leaf facing plate LXVII and to leaf 2T2 in Volume II. A fine copy in lovely contemporary tree calf.