BLOCH, MARCUS ÉLIÉSER (1723-1799)
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Ichthyologie ou Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. En Six Parties avec 216 Planches dessinées et enluminées d'après Nature.
Berlin chez l’auteur. 1796. 6 vols octavo (210 x 126 mm). Title-vignets, half-titles, 216 hand-coloured engraved plates, some heightened with silver. Text to some plates printed in red. Half- title to vol. II not bound in. Contemporary speckled full calf, gilt rule borders to covers, red and black morocco labels to spines. Armorial book label to each volume. A complete copy of the French edition with four volumes text, 1291 pp. and the plates bound as volumes five and six as published. The present copy has no markings of any kind, no wear, and no foxing.
The rare first octavo edition of Bloch's Ichthyologie. A copy in magnificent condition.
Publishing history : The first German edition Bloch’s Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische with 12 text parts and 432 plates was issued in folio format in Berlin from 1782-1795. A French folio version entitled Ichthyologie ou histoire naturelle générale et particulière des poissons was composed almost concurrently: parts one to three about German fish species was issued by the author in 1785 in Berlin and parts four to twelve about fish species of all over the world by the author & Didot and White in Berlin, Paris and London from 1785-1797. Parts one to six (1784-1788) of Bloch's work was sold by the publisher as a complete set and as the first French folio edition. This edition was extended between 1788 and 1797 to a twelve parts French folio first edition and was sold as such. A second French folio edition by the author in Berlin followed (1793-1795) containing parts 1-6 with 216 plates. The present copy (1796) is an octavo-format of the second French folio edition, however, some of the plates are different: scary anatomical details of some fish species presented in the folio edition are omitted. We assume that the octavo edition was designed for children.
Provenance: Emily Mercer, Countess of Shelbourne, later Marchioness of Lan(d)sdowne (1819-1895).