8vo, pp. xvii, , [1 (blank)], 448, with frontispiece portrait and 50 wood-engraved plates (each with 2 images); numerous woodcut vignettes in text; light toning and dust-staining, a few slight spots; a very good copy in later mottled calf by Bayntun, borders French-filleted, spine richly gilt in compartments with gilt brown morocco lettering-piece in one, board-edges and turn-ins roll-tooled in gilt, top-edge gilt, others uncut, marbled endpapers; lightly rubbed at extremities, minor chipping to head-cap and short splits to upper joint; nineteenth-century ink ownership marks of H.B. Skinner.
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Letters on natural History, exhibiting a View of the Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of the Deity, so eminently displayed in the Formation of the Universe, and various Relations of Utility which inferior Beings have to the human Species, calculated particularly for the Use of Schools, and young Persons in general of both Sexes, in order to impress their Minds with a just Idea of its great Author, illustrated by upwards of one hundred engraved Subjects applicable to the Work.
Scarce first edition of Bigland’s Letters on natural History. Published ‘for the use of schools and young persons in general’, Bigland’s natural history intended to show ‘the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Deity’. Its attempts at taxonomy, however, are rudimentary, as Bigland considered it best ‘to range the different orders according to their visible resemblance … without burdening the memory with artificial systems and scientific discriminations’.
Library Hub records only three complete copies in UK institutions (BL, Bodleian, CUL, with a defective copy at NLS).
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[RUSSELL, Lady Rachel.]
Letters of Lady Rachel Russell; from the manuscript in the Library at Woburn Abbey. To which are prefixed an introduction, vindicating the character of Lord Russell against Sir John Dalrymple, &c. And the trial of Lord William Russell for high treason, extracted from the state trials. The sixth edition.
Sixth edition. William Russell (1639–1683) was opposed to the accession of James II as an openly Catholic King, and was executed for his part in the Rye House Plot, along with Algernon Sidney (1623–1683). In a rare concession to the defendant in a case of high treason, Lady Russell appeared at the trial as her husband’s secretary, the idea being to remind the jury of the couple’s well-known marital felicity (ODNB). She wrote numerous letters appealing for clemency, securing visiting rights and easing Russell’s custodial conditions. She is held up here as a paragon of Protestant virtue (she was of Huguenot stock) in the face of Catholic tyranny, and as a shining example of widowhood, depicted here in her widow’s weeds.
THORNTON, Robert John, HENDERSON (illustrator), and Thomas BEWICK (engraver).
A new Family Herbal, or a popular Account of the Natures and Properties of the various Plantes used in Medicine, Diet, and the Arts … the Plants drawn from Nature … and engraved on Wood.
First edition of Thornton’s educational herbal, illustrated by Bewick. Though principally famous for his ‘visually magnificent failure’ the Temple of Flora (ODNB), Robert John Thornton (1768 – 1837) wrote on botany for all audiences, from treatises on Linnaeus’s system to the New Family Herbal, offering illustrated descriptions of plants and their medicinal uses.