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Price: £4,750.00

  

The Historie of Foure-Footed Beastes

By Edward Topsell

1607- London- William Jaggard

13" by 8.5"; [32] 3-14, 19-34, 37-92, 95-120, 123-230, 233-324, 337-520, 551-553, 524-548, 550-551, 551-594, 597-700, 741, 702-756pp

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


 

DETAILS

A very scarce first edition of this illustrated bestiary.

Collated: Lacking pages A1-6, B1, B3-5, C2-3, D6, FF1-6,  I5, M1, X2, 3H4, 3Y1-8. Title page in facsimile. Lacking the plate of Durer's Rhinoceros. Pages often misnumbered, as indicated above.

A fascinating work, scarce in any form and containing many of the illustrations for which the work is famous.

Edward Topsell was an English cleric and author. He is best remembered for this work and a secondary volume, The History of Serpents. Topsell's work covers both real and mythological animals, including a striking plate of the Manticore, a creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man.

Topsell was not a naturalist himself, and his worked was derived from the authority of earlier works. In doing so, Topsell repeats various amusing and now obviously fantastic features of animals, including the misbelief that Apes are scared of snails, and that Elephants worship the sun and the moon. Likewise, Topsell includes accounts of mythological creatures, showing only some scepticism when it comes to the existence of the Hydra.

With the bookplate of Humphry Primatt, a clergyman and advocate for animals. Primatt wrote on moral issues in natural philosophy, attacking unnecessary cruelty to animals including that inflicted through hunting and other sports. Primatt's argument, founded in the divine goodness of God, argued that as all animals were created by God, justice must extend to them as it does to humans. An interesting provenance for a work of this nature.

Despite its defects, this is an attractive copy for any collector, with a unique provenance.

CONDITION

Rebacked in a calf binding with original boards preserved and contrasting red spine label. Externally, smart with light rubbing to the boards and very light bumping to the extremities. Hinges reinforced. Bookplate of Humphry Primatt to front pastedown. Internally, firmly bound. Pages remarkably bright. Title page in facsimile. Lacking several pages as outlined in collation. Occasional small marginal closed tears, light dampstaining in places and brown stains to the pages 211-222. Lightly spotted throughout, heavier in places. Marginal loss to p313. Repairs to several pages, particularly first 10 pages, the gutter of pages 4, 11-14, 227, 433, 749-756 and margin of p25, 97, 104, 179, 296, 435, 439, 457, 549. Heavy repairs to p441, the plate of the manticore. A few illustrations have been closely trimmed, particularly affecting the Cameleopard. Overall: GOOD


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Price: £4,750.00


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