BENNETT, John Whitchurch (1808-1843)

A selection from the most remarkable and interesting fishes on the coast of Ceylon. Dedicated, by special permission to George IV, king of the united kingdom of Great Britain and king of Hannover.

Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown and Green, 1830. First edition 4to, pp. VIII, and 30 fine full page hand-coloured lithographs by J. Clark after Bennett’s drawings, each plate accompanied by a tissue guard and a page of description. Publishers green cloth without spine lettering. Some first edition copies have morocco or calf over cloth boards. Scientific and local names in Singalese are given for each species. Several plates are watermarked Whatman and some have a watermarked date. Similar watermarked Whatman paper was used by the publisher J. Goodwin for the first edition of A treatise on Fish and Fish-ponds by Roger North. Both works were issued in the same year. Pages have no markings of any kind, no wear and no foxing.

This first edition of Bennett’s pioneering book on the fish of Sri Lanka  is far superior - in terms of artistic skill and printing standards - to the later editions of 1834 and 1841. (Peter Dance, Art of Natural history, 1990, p.6). A lovely copy.

Bennett explains in the preface of his book that he has adhered in his drawings of the fishes, strictly to nature; and, as far as his colours permitted, imitated their various hues: but, alas, in vain must be every endeavor to attain perfection. He named the great trevally, a new fish species to science, Scomber heberi, in honor of Reginald Heber, Bishop of Calcutta, who had supported Bennett’s ichthyological research. It is noteworthy that in the same year another classic on fishes by North (1830) was printed on watermarked J. Whatman paper as well. Alwynne Wheeler 1999, Nissen ZBI 316.

Price: € 7500,00


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