Rare Science Book: Ellis, John; Essai sur L'Histoire Naturelle des Corallines, 1756

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Ellis, John; Essai sur L'Histoire Naturelle des Corallines, et d'autres productions marines du meme Genre, qu'on trouve communement sur les cotes de la Grande-Bretagne et D'Irlande; Auquel on a joint une description d'un Grand Polype de Mer Pris auprès du Pole Arctique, par des Pecheurs de Baleine, pendant l'Eté de 1753. Traduit de L'Anglois. Pierre de Hondt, A La Haye, 1756. Quarto, pp. red/black title page, xvi, 125, 3 pages publishers catalogue, 40 plates including plate of the aquatic microscope.

The work is complete with the three pages of ads and is in a 19th century tooled calf with raised spine bands, and gilt titles. The binding is tight and clean, owners small penned signature on end sheet, text is very clean and not trimmed, plates are exceptionally clean. In very good condition.


Ellis (1710-1776); a British physician, naturalist and merchant is best remembered for his studies of zoophytes. In 1754 he was elected to the Royal Society and in 1767 was awarded the Copley Medal. His work "Natural History of the Corallines" is one of the earliest attempts at a discussion and description of the various known species. This copy includes the additional plate and text describing Cuff's microscope used to study aquatic specimens. The microscope was built by John Cuff, and was equipped with a mirror to illuminate objects. The plates were engraved by James Kirk, J. Mynde and H. Roberts after original drawings by Georg Dionysius Ehret. While some call the French 1756 printing the first French edition, we have seen a 1755 French printing.