We are delighted to present to this exceptionally rare & old work by Martin Lister: Historiae Conchyliorum, the rare large paper edition published in 1770. This edition is considered by some to be the most desirable of all due to the large paper size and the beauty of the engravings. It is truly astonishing to think these wonderful copper engravings have come to us over the centuries from a century when Newton & Galileo were alive.
Martin Lister (1638-1712) English naturalist and physician, was the nephew of Sir Matthew Lister, physician to Queen Anne and to Charles I. Educated at St John's College, Cambridge, he practised medicine at York until 1683, when he moved to London. His principal works were Historiae animalium Angliae tres tractatus (1678); Historiae Conchyliorum (1685-1692), and Conchyliorum Bivalvium (1696). In 1683 devised a new kind of map showing soil & minerals, thereby being the first to the importance of a geological survey.
When Historiae Conchyliorum was published, Newton had just discovered the law of gravity, saying "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The giants were many in this Age of Enlightenment & Scientific Revolution. In England, William of Orange & Mary had ascended the throne & Peter the Great started the great era of Russian rapprochement & sharing of culture with Europe. Philosophers & scientists such as John Locke, Bacon, William Harvey & Descartes abounded. Many wealthy collectors & notables financed scientific discovery, artistic & musical endeavors. The great musicians Vivaldi & Teleman were followed in this century by Bach & Handel.
The colonization of America had begun, with the good ship Mayflower setting sail in 1620. New York, Massachusetts, Maryland & Rhode Island were populated first. The founding of Pennsylvania was in 1684 & Louisiana in 1699. Jockeying for position, territories & wealth was underway principally between the English, French, Dutch & Spanish.
Much that we still enjoy in our daily lives comes to us from these times, not the least being beautiful engravings such as these and our repertoire of classical music. Each print measures approximately 9 3/4 inches wide by 15 1/2 inches long. The paper is strong & creamy in colour, with distinct chain lines & a few bear a fleur de lys watermark. There may be a few hints of offset on some, which is forgiven due to the great age of the prints. There is no descriptive text but a copy of the title page will be provided. The engravings are in excellent condition for their age of about 237 years and we are honored to present such a rarity!