L'Histoire Naturelle eclaircie dans une de ses parties Principales, l'Oryctologie, qui Traite des Terres, des Pierres, des Metaux, des Minéraux, et autres Fossiles, Ouvrage dans lequel on trouve une nouvelle méthode Latine & Francoise de les diviser, & une notice critique des principaux Ouvrages qui ont paru sur ces matières
by [DEZALLIER D'ARGENVILLE, Antoine Joseph]
Engraved allegorical frontis. & 25 finely engraved plates. Title in red & black. 4 p.l., xvi, 560 pp., one leaf of errata (final leaf a little foxed). Large 4to, cont. mottled sheep (joints & corners carefully repaired), spine gilt. Paris: De Bure, 1755. First separate edition; this work first appeared in 1742 as part of the author's Conchyliologie. Dézallier has expanded the text for this edition and added extra illustrations. The plates in the present work are well-known for their beauty and they illustrate many rocks, minerals, and fossils. Each plate bears the name of the subscriber who paid for its production. "Scarce. An impressive compilation of 18th century mineral knowledge. Dezallier's introduction provides a critical review of past authors and their books. This is followed by a précis of his mineralogical system that gives a tabular arrangement of minerals, stones and precious gems, that is immediately followed by a detailed discussion of the classification. Dezallier recognized three classes of minerals: Terres (earths), Pierres (stones), and all others. Within each, groupings are differentiated primarily by physical properties such as color, form, weight, etc. The author claims this method was new because it follows the natural and apparent qualities of the species it distributes; however, its principles were set forth by several predecessors, the earliest of whom was Agricola. A final section provides an excellent and detailed account of the mineralogy of France. Accompanying and scattered throughout the text are 26 finely engraved plates. These illustrations that rank among the best natural history engravings of the 18th century show minerals, stones, fossils, coral, birds and fish."-Schuh, Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography, 1469 to 1920, 1338. Very good copy. (Inventory #: 5416)
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