Natural History for Children, inCOLOR
Buffon, Georges-Louis Leclerc, comte de. Le petit Buffon des enfants. Paris: Théodore Lefèvre (colophon: pr. by C. Moisand), 1860. 24mo signed in 6s and 12s (14.3 cm, 5.625"). Add. engr. t.-p., , 176 pp.; 9 col. plts.
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“Ou extrait d'histoire naturelle des quadrupèdes, des reptiles, des poissons, et des oiseaux”: an illustrated look at animals for the younger set, based on Buffon's enormously influential Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière. Buffon (1707–88), in his original 36-volume series, addressed such questions as the age of the earth, the formation of the planets, and the nature of species change; the work helped inspire the Enlightenment-era interest in natural history as a science, and greatly influenced subsequent naturalists including Lamarck and
Darwin. Both the adult and the highly condensed juvenile versions were bestsellers, with the latter first published in 1805 and the present example being arevised and enlarged edition (the front cover cites J. Langlume, successor to Lefèvre, the publisher given on the title-page). WorldCat does not locate any U.S. institutions reporting ownership of this printing.
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The volume is illustrated witha total of ten hand-colored lithographed plates, each offering a pair of multi-animal images — except for the added engraved title-page, which bears a single vignette representing a dramatic encounter: a snake constricting a difficult-to-identify but undoubtedly ferocious catlike creature, while fending off a vulture at the same time. Among the birds depicted are the wild turkey, bird of paradise, pelican, swan, and peacock, while mammals include the lion, tiger, camel, marmot, rhinoceros, elephant, and bear; also present are a number of lizards, fish, snakes, etc.
Provenance: Curiously, the back free endpaper of this copy bears a pressure-stamp from the Calzoleria di F. Barellai, in Florence — a shoemaker’s shop! Most recently in the library of American collector Albert A. Howard, small booklabel (“AHA”) at rear.
Publisher's color-printed yellow paper–covered boards; slightly darkened, corners and spine extremities rubbed. Back hinge (inside) starting from foot but cover firm; back free endpaper stamped as above. Variable foxing throughout and the occasional “splotch” of something else, the latter most notably to the engraved title-page with off-setting to frontispiece leaf opposite (not marring the illustrations on these leaves). One leaf with short tear from lower margin, not touching text. Scarce, and delightful. (39796)
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