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HARRIS, Moses.
Exposition of English Insects Including the several Classes of Neuroptera, Hymenoptera, Diptera, or Bees, Flies & Libellulae. Exhibiting on 51 Copper Plates near 500 Figures, accurately drawn & highly finished in Colours, from Nature.

The Whole minutely Described, Arranged, & Named, according to the Linnean System, with Remarks. The Figures of a great number of MOTHS, not in the Aurelian Collection, formerly published by the same Author, and a Plate with an explanation of Colours, are likewise given in the Work.

pp. (ii) French printed title (dated 1786), viii, (9)-166, (iv) Index. Engraved title in English (dated 1782) before the French title, coloured frontispiece, uncoloured plate of Insect Anatomy, coloured plate - Scheme of Colours, 50 coloured plates of Insects (plate III dated 1766). Parallel English and French text in double column. The binding by PAUL DELRUE, commissioned by Darwin scholar, Richard Freeman, from whose estate this book was acquired, is in dark crimson red Oasis morocco with five raised bands on each board and 24 panels, the front board with each panel carrying an insect figured with coloured onlays and blind and gilt tooling. It was a prize-winning commission in the Thomas Harrison Memorial Competition of 1966, when Delrue was at the London College of Printing. The judges [Bernard Middleton, Elizabeth Greenhill, Howard Nixon] commented that it was '... an ingenious design for an 18th century book, which avoids being antiquarian but is not glaringly modernistic' [The British Printer, p.53, August 1966]. It is illustrated in that source and in addition Delrue has a coloured plate and description in his autobiography - 'Gold decoration with insects made of small pieces of coloured leather, vellum, parchment, snake and lizard .......' [Paul Delrue: my soul has no friends - a childhood remembered, 2013]. The dazzling binding is in lovely condition, all edges gilt, within a solander box, the text is clean and bright, 10 plates display some foxing and faint patchy browning, all the insect plates have tissue guards, mostly with some foxing, one plate with a small tear at the top corner without loss, overall a beautiful book with carefully observed and coloured figures and an exceptional binding and provenance.

*ESTC : T33877 ........... LISNEY pp.156-175, #243- 'The issue of 1786 is not infrequently found and in all the copies I have examined the text is a mixture of the first and second editions.' '[Harris] was, it is believed, the first to draw attention to the importance of wing neuration in the classification of lepidoptera and upon this principle he arranged the species in his published works, illustrating them in colour with a high degree of accuracy. Harris certainly contributed much to the knowledge of the science and was one of the leading entomologists of his century........ Harris was undoubtedly one of the most outstanding authors of entomological literature during the eighteenth century and these publications have retained a popularity shared only by a few.' FREEMAN British Natural History Books, #1557.

Sold by Mr. White, Bookseller in Fleet Street, & by Mr. Robson, in New Bond Street. London.

Date Published: 1782-1786. [Second edition, second issue]. Folio.

Stock No. 62699

Price: 9,000.00