The Life of Sir Humphry Davy; Late President of the Royal Society, Foreign Associate of the Royal Institute of France.
by [DAVY, Humphry (1778 - 1829)] PARIS, John Ayrton (1785 – 1856).
London:: Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley, 1831., 1831. 4to. Collation: [a]-b4, B-Z4, 2A-2Z4, 3A-3Z4, 4A2. Pagination:  ads*, xv, , 547,  pp. Engraved frontispiece portrait, folding plate of holographic letter facing p. 177, 4 woodcut figures (pp. 432-3), appendix [*Ads, dated January 1831, tipped in.]. Original mauve cloth, orange gilt-stamped spine label; neatly rebacked, preserving original end leaves. Very good copy. PREFERRED QUARTO-SIZE [TALLER] FIRST EDITION. This is the first edition quarto issue. There was a two-volume octavo issue with the type reset, also published in 1831 by the same publisher. Davy is credited with discovering chlorine and iodine, and for isolating for the first-time potassium, sodium, calcium, strontium, barium, magnesium and boron. As befit a well-rounded man of his day, Ayrton describes him: "His mind was as vigorous as it was original, and no less logical and precise as it was daring and comprehensive; nothing was too mighty for its grasp, nothing too minute for its observation; like the trunk of the elephant, it could tear up the oak of the forest, or gently pluck the acorn from its branch" (p.14). While the prose, at times, can border on the hagiographic, the reports of Davy's discoveries and his personal and professional relationships with the great men of his age, make for fascinating reading.
(Inventory #: SEG1043)
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