Superior edition of Jonston's famous works on insects, snakes and monsters

Jonston, J.

Historiae naturalis de Insectis libri III. De serpentibus et draconibus, libri II cum aeneis figuris.

Published 1757
Item ID 73400
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Heilbronn, Franciscus Josephus Eckebrecht, 1757. Folio (33.8 x 21.0 cm). Engraved title page; letterpress title page in red and black with engraved vignette; [iv], 212 (recte 210), [iv] pp.; letterpress title (to the Serpentibus; verso blank); 3-55, [iii] pp.; 40 engraved plates [ Insectibus 28; Serpentibus 12]. Contemporary vellum. Spine with gilt title in gilt ornamental border. Edges red.

The complete parts on the ‘insects’ (including many other invertebrates, such as slugs and echinoderms), and snakes and ‘dragons’ of John Jonston’s famous Historiae naturalis. The latter, with fine illustrations of real snakes, as well as both a charming and bewildering variety of little dragons has always been one of the most popular parts. Perhaps that is why the German printer and publisher Frank Joseph Eckebrecht fully reprinted this work in 1757, the year before Linnaeus saw the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae published, a point in time when the existence of real dragons was much in doubt among serious zoologists. This may be the reason for Eckebrecht to shorten the second title from the original Historiae naturalis de serpentibus et draconibus to Historiae naturalis de serpentibus. Linnaeus, however, based some of his new species on Jonston’s descriptions and illustrations. Today, this edition, which was printed on much better, thicker paper, is much rarer than the earlier Frankfurt and Amsterdam thin paper editions, and not recorded in the major bibliographies. Page numbers 133-134 not used. Plates bound according to the binder’s instructions (i.e., with 14 bound before 13). Old owner’s inscription - hardly discernible - on the engraved title; slight staining and wear to the boards; some minor, marginal spotting to several plates, the text almost entirely clean, without the usual toning; all in all a very good copy. This edition is quite uncommon. Adler II, p. 15; Nissen ZBI, 2135 (Amsterdam and Frankfurt editions); Wood, p. 409 (another edition). This edition not in the Crane herpetology library.

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