History of Quadrupeds


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PENNANT, Thomas. History of Quadrupeds. London: B. & J. White, 1793. Two volumes in one. Large, thick quarto, contemporary three-quarter brown calf gilt expertly rebacked with original spine laid down, gray-brown paper-covered boards, uncut.

Third edition, large-paper copy, of this universal zoology of quadrupeds, illustrated with engraved title pages for each volume and 112 wonderful full-page copperplate engravings, in original boards.

Welsh naturalist and antiquary Thomas Pennant contributed greatly “to organizing, popularizing, and promoting the study of natural history” (DSB). “His name stands high among the naturalists of the eighteenth century, and he has been commended for making dry and technical matter interesting. His British Zoology and History of Quadrupeds, arranged according to the classification of John Ray, long remained classical works. ‘Pennant’s works on natural history’ (says Sir William Jardine, 1833) ‘were much valued at the time of their publication, and contained the greater part of the knowledge of their times” (DNB). Pennant collected a working library of over 5,000 volumes of natural history, geology and topography, including the principal zoological works of his day. His own History of Quadrupeds, first published in 1781, was an expansion of his earlier Synopsis of Quadrupeds (1771). The plates depict many varieties of exotic and curious quadrupeds, including the “American Bison” (Plate 4), “Two-Horned Rhinoceros” (Plate 29) and “Kanguru” (Plate 64). Plates 30, 37 and 77 never issued; plate numbers 57, 60, 66, 68, 90 and 104 repeated. Misnumbered plates (as issued): 88 for 87, 104 for 105, 105 for 106, and 106 for 107 (complete). Lowndes, 1823.

Interior near-fine, with only faint offsetting from plates to text and faint dampstain to middle gatherings of Volume I (not affecting text or images). Light restoration to extremities of contemporary binding. Scarce.

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