by [DÉZALLIER D'ARGENVILLE, Antoine Joseph]
Finely engraved allegorical frontis. after Boucher (a bit foxed) & 33 finely engraved plates. Title printed in red & black. 4 p.l., 491,  pp. Large thick 4to, cont. polished calf (a few minor abrasions to upper cover, one small chip to headcap), spine richly gilt, red morocco lettering piece on spine, a.e.g. Paris: De Bure l'Aîné, 1742. First edition and a very handsome, large copy. Dézallier (1680-1765), counselor to the King, was one of the leading popularizers of natural history in France during the 18th century. He published descriptions of many notable natural history collections in Paris and the provinces. This work was written for the collector in order to facilitate the identification of shells for the cabinet. It "was very popular with collectors and even Linnaeus utilized it to arrange his shells."-Dance, Shell Collecting. An Illustrated History, pp. 58-59. There is an extensive list of shells, with remarks on rarity and desirability, followed by a discussion of private natural history collections in Paris and Holland, with remarks on the outstanding features of each collections. "A storehouse of information on stones and shells. It remains today a valuable source because it describes many of the famous eighteenth-century natural history collections of Europe."-Kafker, The Encyclopedists as Individuals: A Biographical Dictionary of the Authors of the Encyclopédie, p. 13. Fine copy. The plates are especially well-engraved. 19th-century bookplate of G. De Visme. ❧ Schuh, Mineralogy & Crystallography: A Biobibliography, 1469 to 1920, 1337-"The 33 engraved plates show mineralogical and conchological subjects...Scarce. An important work on lithology and conchology, including discussions of the contributions of the chief authors on these subjects, and a method of classification for shells, as well as tables in Latin and French.".
(Inventory #: 5535)