RÉAUMUR (René-Antoine Ferchault de). Mémoires... - Lot 23 - Pescheteau-Badin

Lot 23
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4000 - 5000 EUR
RÉAUMUR (René-Antoine Ferchault de). Mémoires... - Lot 23 - Pescheteau-Badin
RÉAUMUR (René-Antoine Ferchault de). Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des insectes. À Paris, de l'Imprimerie royale, 1734-1742. 6 volumes large in-4, red morocco, ribbed spines with partitions and fleur-de-lys, triple gilt fillet with corner fleurons on the covers with gilt coat of arms in the center, filleted edges, inner gilt roulette, gilt edges (period binding). ledoux_lebars I: (4)-654-(2) pp. - II: (4 of which the first 2 are blank)-xlvi-(2)-514-(2) pp. - III: (4)-xl-532 pp. - IV: xxxiv-(2)-634 [misfigured 1 to 320 and 323 to 636] pp. - V: (4)-xliv-728 pp. - VI: (4)-lxxx-608 pp. a few small stains on the boards, a few rare plates badly washed by the engraver. FIRST EDITION. IMPORTANT ILLUSTRATION ENGRAVED ON COPPER: 267 out-of-text folding plates of zoological representations, and 12 vignettes in the text (6 headbands depicting delicate insect-related scenes, and 6 initials decorated with entomological motifs). Work executed by several artists, mainly Jean-Baptiste Haussard, Philippe Simonneau and Claude Lucas. SUPERB EXEMPLAIRE IN MAROQUIN WITH THE ARMS OF THE DUKE LOUIS D'ORLEANS (OHR, pl. n° 2570, iron n° 10). LES MEMOIRES POUR SERVIR A L'HISTOIRE DES INSECTES, A MAJOR MILESTONE IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ENTOMOLOGY AS A SCIENCE. Proceeding methodically on the basis of field observations and experiments, as well as dissections, René-Antoine de Réaumur dealt with all aspects of insects, their morphology, reproduction and behavior - indeed, he paid particular attention to the ethological aspect, more than any other scientist before him. In this vast undertaking, his greatest efforts focused on bees: he was the first to conduct quantitative observations on hives, and the first to attempt to understand the bee communication system. A PIONEER IN APPLIED ENTOMOLOGICAL RESEARCH: cultivating a utilitarian approach, René-Antoine de Réaumur placed particular emphasis on insects that could be economically exploited, for example in the production of silk, honey, wax, lacquer or dye. He was also one of the first to systematically study ways of reducing the impact of pests. THE PRECISION AND ACCURACY OF SOME OF HIS REMARKS AND OBSERVATIONS ARE STILL VALID TODAY. It should be noted, however, that he followed the practice of his contemporaries, who included in the insect category both hexapods and almost all small invertebrates, as well as certain reptiles and amphibians, including the crocodile. A PHYSICIAN AND NATURALIST OF ENCYCLOPEDIC CURIOSITY, RENE-ANTOINE DE REAUMUR (1683-1757) joined the Académie des Sciences at the age of 25, was appointed director at 31, published widely, fostered the careers of many other talented French scientists, and maintained an extensive correspondence with foreign scholars throughout Europe. He successfully applied his intelligence to a wide range of fields, from mathematics and geometry to arts and crafts (notably that of the goldsmith), defined a new temperature scale, invented an alcohol thermometer adapted to it, and took an interest in porcelain and artificial pearls. FATHER OF THE METALLURGICAL INDUSTRY IN FRANCE, he carried out extensive work on iron and cast iron, studying in particular how to increase their strength, and was the inventor of the case-hardening furnace. THE GREATEST FRENCH NATURALIST OF THE LIGHTS BEFORE BUFFON, he worked on spiders, molluscs, genetic biology and birds: he assembled a collection of them from all over the world, reputed to be one of the finest in Europe, studied their physiology, sought to define a more efficient method of naturalization to withstand long-distance transport, and also proposed techniques to improve chicken breeding. He can also be considered a precursor of Pasteur, for having intuited the presence of invisible germs responsible for organic decay.
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