- Title : Histoire Naturelle, Insectes
- Size: 15in x 10in (380mm x 255mm)
- Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
- Date : 1774
- Ref #: 90535
This original copper-plate engraved antique print was published in the 1774 quatro edition of Comte de Buffons Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (Natural History, General and Particular, with a Description of the King\'s Cabinet)
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Blue, pink, red, green, yellow
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 15in x 10in (380mm x 255mm)
Plate size: - 14in x 9in (355mm x 230mm)
Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)
Margins: - Light age toning
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None
The Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi (Natural History, General and Particular, with a Description of the Kings Cabinet) is an encyclopaedic collection of 36 large (quarto) volumes written between 1749–1804 by the Comte de Buffon, and continued in eight more volumes after his death by his colleagues, led by Bernard Germain de Lacépède. The books cover what was known of the natural sciences at the time, including what would now be called material science, physics, chemistry and technology as well as the natural history of animals.
The Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du Cabinet du Roi is the work that the Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) is remembered for. He worked on it for some 50 years, initially at Montbard in his office in the Tour Saint-Louis, then in his library at Petit Fontenet. 36 volumes came out between 1749 and 1789, followed by 8 more after his death, thanks to Bernard Germain de Lacépède. It includes all the knowledge available in his time on the natural sciences, a broad term that includes disciplines which today would be called material science, physics, chemistry and technology. Buffon notes the morphological similarities between men and apes, although he considered apes completely devoid of the ability to think, differentiating them sharply from human beings. Buffons attention to internal anatomy made him an early comparative anatomist. Lintérieur, dans les êtres vivants, est le fond du dessin de la nature, he wrote in his Quadrupèdes, the interior, in living things, is the foundation of natures design.
The Histoire Naturelle, which was meant to address the whole of natural history, actually covers only minerals, birds, and the quadrupeds among animals. It is accompanied by some discourses and a theory of the earth by way of introduction, and by supplements including an elegantly written account of the epochs of nature.
The Suppléments cover a wide range of topics; for example, in (Suppléments IV), there is a Discours sur le style (Discourse on Style) and an Essai darithmétique morale (essay on Moral Arithmetic).
Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton assisted Buffon on the quadrupeds; Philippe Guéneau de Montbeillard worked on the birds. They were joined, from 1767, by Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond, the abbot Gabriel Bexon and Charles-Nicolas-Sigisbert Sonnini de Manoncourt. The whole descriptive and anatomical part of lHistoire des Quadrupèdes was the work of Daubenton and Jean-Claude Mertrud.
Buffon attached much importance to the illustrations; Jacques de Sève illustrated the quadrupeds and François-Nicolas Martinet illustrated the birds. Nearly 2000 plates adorn the work, representing animals with care given both to aesthetics and anatomical accuracy, with dreamlike and mythological settings.
On minerals, Buffon collaborated with André Thouin. Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond and Louis Bernard Guyton de Morveau provided sources for the mineral volumes.
L Histoire Naturelle met immense success, almost as great as Encyclopédie by Diderot, which came out in the same period. The first three volumes of LHistoire Naturelle, générale et particulière, avec la description du cabinet du Roi were reprinted three times in six weeks.
The encyclopaedia appeared in 36 volumes :
3 volumes in 1749 : De la manière détudier lhistoire naturelle followed by Théorie de la Terre, Histoire Générale des animaux and Histoire Naturelle de lhomme
12 volumes on quadrupeds (1753 to 1767)
9 volumes on birds (1770 to 1783])
5 volumes on minerals (1783 to 1788), the last including Traité de laimant, the last work published by Buffon in his lifetime
7 volumes of supplements (1774 to 1789), including Époques de la nature (from 1778).
LHistoire Naturelle was initially printed at the Imprimerie royale in 36 volumes (1749–1789). In 1764 Buffon bought back the rights to his work. It was continued by Bernard Germain de Lacépède, who described the egg-laying quadrupeds, snakes, fishes and cetaceans in 8 volumes (1788–1804).
Buffon was assisted in the work by Jacques-François Artur (1708–1779), Gabriel Léopold Charles Amé Bexon (1748–1785), Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton (1716–1799), Edme-Louis Daubenton (1732–1786), Jacques de Sève (actif 1742–1788), Barthélemy Faujas de Saint-Fond (1741–1819), Philippe Guéneau de Montbeillard (1720–1785), Louis-Bernard Guyton-Morveau (1737–1816), Bernard Germain de Lacépède (1756–1825), François-Nicolas Martinet (1731–1800), the anatomist Jean-Claude Mertrud (1728–1802), Charles-Nicolas-Sigisbert Sonnini de Manoncourt (1751–1812), and André Thouin (1747–1823).
Each group is introduced with a general essay. This is followed by an article, sometimes of many pages, on each animal (or other item). The article on the wolf begins with the claim that it is one of the animals with a specially strong appetite for flesh; it asserts that the animal is naturally coarse and cowardly (grossier et poltron), but becoming crafty at need, and hardy by necessity, driven by hunger. The language, as in this instance, is elegant and elaborate, even flowery and ornate. Buffon was roundly criticised by his fellow academics for writing a purely popularizing work, empty and puffed up, with little real scientific value.
The species is named in Greek, Latin, Italian, Spanish, German, English, Swedish, and Polish. The zoological descriptions of the species by Gessner, Ray, Linnaeus, Klein and Buffon himself (Canis ex griseo flavescens. Lupus vulgaris. Buffon. Reg. animal. pag. 235) are cited.
The text is written as a continuous essay, without the sections on identification, distribution and behaviour that might have been expected from other natural histories. Parts concern human responses rather than the animal itself, as for example that the wolf likes human flesh, and the strongest wolves sometimes eat nothing else. Measurements may be included; in the case of the wolf, 41 separate measurements are tabulated, in pre-revolutionary French feet and inches[a] starting with the Length of the whole body measured in a straight line from the end of the muzzle to the anus........3 feet. 7 inches. (1.2 m); the Length of the largest claws is given as 10 lines (2.2 cm).
The wolf is illustrated standing in farmland, and as a complete skeleton standing on a stone plinth in a landscape. The account of the species occupies 32 pages including illustrations.
The original edition of the Histoire Naturelle by Buffon comprised 36 volumes in quarto, divided into the following series: Histoire de la Terre et de lHomme, Quadrupèdes, Oiseaux, Minéraux, Suppléments. Buffon edited 35 volumes in his lifetime. Soon after his death, the fifth and final volume of lHistoire des minéraux appeared in 1788 at the Imprimerie des Bâtiments du Roi. The seventh and final volume of Suppléments by Buffon was published posthumously in 1789 through Lacépèdes hands. Lacépède continued the part of the Histoire Naturelle which dealt with animals. A few months before Buffons death, en 1788, Lacépède published, as a continuation, the first volume of his Histoire des Reptiles, on egg-laying quadrupeds. The next year, he wrote a second volume on snakes, published during the French Revolution. Between 1798 and 1803, he brought out the volume Histoire des Poissons. Lacépède made use of the notes and collections left by Philibert Commerson (1727–1773). He wrote Histoire des Cétacés which was printed in 1804. At that point, the Histoire Naturelle, by Buffon and Lacépède, thus contained 44 quarto volumes forming the definitive edition.
Another edition in quarto format was printed by the Imprimerie royale in 36 volumes (1774–1804). It consisted of 28 volumes par Buffon, and 8 volumes by Lacépède. The part containing anatomical articles by Louis Jean-Marie Daubenton was dropped. The supplements were merged into the relevant articles in the main volumes.
The Imprimerie royale also published two editions of the Histoire Naturelle in duodecimo format (1752–1805), occupying 90 or 71 volumes, depending on whether or not they included the part on anatomy. In this print format, the original work by Buffon occupied 73 volumes with the part on anatomy, or 54 volumes without the part on anatomy. The continuation by Lacépède took up 17 duodecimo volumes.
A de luxe edition of Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux (Birds) (1771–1786) was produced by the Imprimerie royale in 10 folio and quarto volumes, with 1008 engraved and hand-coloured plates, executed under Buffons personal supervision by Edme-Louis Daubenton, cousin and brother-in-law of Buffons principal collaborator.
The original edition was arranged as follows:
Natural history, and description of the kings cabinet of curiosities
Volume I : Premier Discours - De la manière détudier et de traiter lhistoire naturelle, Second Discours - Histoire et théorie de la Terre, Preuves de la théorie de la Terre, 1749
Volume II : Histoire générale des Animaux, Histoire Naturelle de lHomme, 1749
Volume III : Description du cabinet du Roi, Histoire Naturelle de lHomme, 1749
Volume IV (Quadrupèdes I) : Discours sur la nature des Animaux, Les Animaux domestiques, 1753
Volume V (Quadrupèdes II) : 1755
Volume VI (Quadrupèdes III) : Les Animaux sauvages, 1756
Volume VII (Quadrupèdes IV) : Les Animaux carnassiers, 1758
Volume VIII (Quadrupèdes V) : 1760
Volume IX (Quadrupèdes VI) : 1761
Volume X (Quadrupèdes VII) : 1763
Volume XI (Quadrupèdes VIII) : 1764
Volume XII (Quadrupèdes IX) : 1764
Volume XIII (Quadrupèdes X) : 1765
Volume XIV (Quadrupèdes XI) : Nomenclature des Singes, De la dégénération des Animaux, 1766
Volume XV (Quadrupèdes XII) : 1767
Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux (Birds) (1770–1783)
Volume XVI (Oiseaux I) : 1770
Volume XVII (Oiseaux II) : 1771
Volume XVIII (Oiseaux III) : 1774
Volume XIX (Oiseaux IV) : 1778
Volume XX (Oiseaux V) : 1778
Volume XXI (Oiseaux VI) : 1779
Volume XXII (Oiseaux VII) : 1780
Volume XXIII (Oiseaux VIII) : 1781
Volume XXIV (Oiseaux IX) : 1783
Histoire Naturelle des Minéraux (Minerals) (1783–1788)
Volume XXV (Minéraux I) : 1783
Volume XXVI (Minéraux II) : 1783
Volume XXVII (Minéraux III) : 1785
Volume XXVIII (Minéraux IV) : 1786
Volume XXIX (Minéraux V) : Traité de lAimant et de ses usages, 1788
Suppléments à lHistoire Naturelle, générale et particulière (Supplements) (1774–1789)
Volume XXX (Suppléments I) : Servant de suite à la Théorie de la Terre, et dintroduction à lHistoire des Minéraux, 1774
Volume XXXI (Suppléments II) : Servant de suite à la Théorie de la Terre, et de préliminaire à lHistoire des Végétaux - Parties Expérimentale & Hypothétique, 1775
Volume XXXII (Suppléments III) : Servant de suite à lHistoire des Animaux quadrupèdes, 1776
Volume XXXIII (Suppléments IV) : Servant de suite à lHistoire Naturelle de lHomme, 1777
Volume XXXIV (Suppléments V) : Des Époques de la nature, 1779
Volume XXXV (Suppléments VI) : Servant de suite à lHistoire des Animaux quadrupèdes, 1782
Volume XXXVI (Suppléments VII) : Servant de suite à lHistoire des Animaux quadrupèdes, 1789
Histoire Naturelle des Quadrupèdes ovipares et des Serpents (Egg-laying Quadrupeds and Snakes) (1788–1789)
The Gecko, 1788
Volume XXXVII (Reptiles I) : Histoire générale et particulière des Quadrupèdes ovipares, 1788
Volume XXXVIII (Reptiles II) : Histoire des Serpents, 1789
Histoire Naturelle des Poissons (Fish) (1798–1803)
Volume XXXIX (Poissons I) : 1798
Volume XXXX (Poissons II) : 1800
Volume XXXXI (Poissons III) : 1802
Volume XXXXII (Poissons IV) : 1802
Volume XXXXIII (Poissons V) : 1803
Histoire Naturelle des Cétacés (Cetaceans) (1804)
Volume XXXXIV (Cétacés) : 1804