The first English paleontological work using coloured illustrations
Petrificata Derbiensia; or, Figures and Descriptions of Petrifactions Collected in Derbyshire. Volume I (all published).
Wigan: printed by D. Lyon, sold by White, 1793.
1st Edition. Hardcover. 4to - over 9¾ - 12" tall. Very Good. Item #003702
(1793)-1809. 4to (256 x 200 mm). ix , ii, ii, , 28 pp., including half-title, 54 hand-colored engraved plates (many heightened with gum arabic) and explanatory text. Bound in 20th century half calf, spine with 5 raised bands, black lettering piece and gilt decoration. Pages and plates uncut. Occasional minor spotting, few plates with light color offsetting to text, a few pencil notes. Provenance: paper slip with pencil notes tipped in between first endpaper. A very good, crisp and clean copy. ----
FIRST EDITION of the first English paleontological work using coloured illustrations, describing the Carboniferous limestone and other fossils of Derbyshire. Originally issued in 4 parts in 1793, then completed and issued in book form in 1809.
"Martin's claim to fame lies chiefly in his Petrificata Derbiensia, subtitled 'Figures and Descriptions of Petrifactions collected in Derbyshire.' [...] William Martin's best known book, with its pseudolatin title, was a collection of hand-coloured engravings of Carboniferous fossils from Derbyshire, dedicated to Sir Joseph Banks, and published in August 1809. It was printed by D. Lyon in Wigan and, while several sales outlets were noted, no publisher is cited; so effectively it was privately published by Martin in Macclesfield. However, bibliographies usually list Wigan as the place of publication. Petrificata Derbiensia has 52 plates with no particular arrangement, either by stratigraphy or by biological group, though a key was included after the title pages. [...] Among the fossils illustrated are 18 plants, 13 brachiopods, 6 corals (including one bryozoan), a miscellany of molluscs, two trilobites, several crinoid stems and one of tufa encrusting a feline skull. Short diagnoses in Latin, usually only one or two lines, were followed by English descriptions amounting to one or two pages for each fossil. Somewhat more than half the fossils are from the Carboniferous Limestone and the rest from Millstone Grit or Coal Measures. The title page noted that it was Volume 1. An announcement for Volume 2 in 1809 declared 'A considerable portion of the plates [...] will be appropriated to the illustration of specimens of such species of Reliquia as have not hitherto been figured or described by English authors'. Regrettably, volume 2 was never published. [...] His drawing of attention to Derbyshire fossils doubtless spurred others on to more complete works later in the 19th century. Many of his specific names survive and other fossils have been named after him" (Ford).
References: Nissen ZBI 2715; Upcott I, 143; T.D. Ford, William Martin, 1767-1810, pioneer palaeontologist. In: Mercian Geologist, 2003, 15(4), pp. 225-31. - Visit our website to see more images!
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