FORBES, Edward (1815-1854); and Sylvanus HANLEY (1819-1899)
A History of the British Mollusca and their Shells
London: John Van Voorst, -1853. 8vo, 4 vols. (8 5/8 x 5 5/8 inches). [lxxx], 486, [viii]; 557; [x], 616; [vi], 301, pp. 203 lithographic plates by G.B. Sowerby and James Decarle Sowerby.
Uniformly bound in contemporary blue cloth, spines lettered in gilt.
First edition of this standard work on British shells.
Edward Forbes was a malacologist and one of the pioneers of marine studies, laying the foundation of what would come to be known as the field of oceanography. Born on the Isle of Man, the young Forbes was interested in collecting insects, shells, minerals, fossils, and plants from an early age. Though he initially aspired to be an artist, he changed his course of study to medicine at the University of Edinburgh and continued pursuing independent scientific research in natural history while there. After several years, Forbes abandoned his medical studies to travel and publish works on marine biology, botany, and conchology. Throughout the 1830s and '40s, he travelled to Norway, Algiers, present-day Austria and Slovenia, Paris, and the Mediterranean region to conduct research. Facing financial troubles, Forbes accepted a position as curator of the museum of the Geological Society of London in 1842, left two years later to became palaeontologist to the Geological Survey of Great Britain, and later returned to the Society in 1853, when he became president. He was also appointed professor of natural history at the University of Edinburgh, a post he held for less than a year before his death in 1854. This is one of Forbes' most famous works, the other being History of British Starfishes and other Animals ofthe Class Echinodermata . The illustrations were done by George Brettingham Sowerby and James Decarle Sowerby and comprise of 139 of shells and 64 of animals.
Nissen ZBI, 1406.