Amsterdam: J. J. Schipper, 1657 & 1665. Second Edition. Hardcover. Folio (9-1/2" x 15") masterfully bound in recent full vellum lettered in brown on the spine with new endpapers. Six parts in one, four with an engraved title page and two with woodcut title vignettes: DE QUADRUPEDIBUS (1657), -6, , 163,  pages; DE PISCIBUS ET CETIS (1657), -5, , 160 pages; DE EXANGUIBUS AQUATICIS (1665), 58,  pages; DE AVIBUS (1657), , 160 pages; DE INSECTIS (1657), , 147,  pages; DE SERPENTIBUS (1665), 37,  pages. Jonston's complete and comprehensive compilation of the animal kingdom lavishly illustrated with hundreds of engraved figures, many fanciful or imaginary, many the work of the great German artist Matthew Merian. This copy with 243 of 250 plates (249 called for), most with several figures each, including 79 of 80 in the Quadrupedibus section (lacking plate 49); 48 of 47 in the Piscibus et cetis section (includes one plate not recorded in Nissen: plate 48 with images of a narwhal, containing details of its skull and horn); 19 of 20 in the Exanguibus aquaticis section (lacking plate 3); 57 of 62 in the Avibus section (lacking plates 11, 13, 29, 30, and 34); 28 of 28 in the Insectis section; and 12 of 12 in the Serpentibus et Draconibus section. Anker 235; Graesse III, 477; Nissen ZBI 2131, 2133, 2134; 2132, and 2135; Wood, page 409. An important and wonderfully illustrated work on natural history with great influence well into the 18th century. A book that usually suffered from much use, this copy is certainly above the average normally encountered. One plate bound upside down; small tape stains on a handful of plates; one plate with a neatly repaired tear; another plate with slight loss of image. Generally clean and crisp, handsomely bound. Near Fine. Item #016969
Jonston was a physician of Scottish decent, born on the Continent, where he spent the better part of his life. Jonston practiced other occupations in addition to being a physician, and in 1650 he published the first version of his zoology. Jonston is now seen chiefly as a "learned compiler" and his sources for the present work were wide ranging, but probably the main influence was Ulisse Aldrovandi (1522-1605). In addition to the technical merits of this book, Jonston also had a good imagination, as some of the creatures illustrated never existed: hippos with strange features, dragons, unicorns, griffons, and animals with human faces.