Agostino Scilla's acclaimed work on marine fossils, complete with 31 plates

Agostino Scilla's acclaimed work on marine fossils, complete with 31 plates

Agostino Scilla. De Corporibus Marinis lapidescentibus Quae de Fossa Reperiuntur Auctore Augustino Scilla Addita Dissertatione Fabii Columnae De Glossopetris. Editio altera emendiator. Romae, Sumptibus Venantii Monaldini Bibliopolae in Via cursus. Ex Typographia Joannis Zempel Prope Montem Jordanum, 1759. 4to (21.5 x 27.5 cm). [8], 82, [6] pp. With engraved frontispiece (titled "Vanae speculationis sensus moderator"), vignet on title-page, headpiece, initial, and 31 engraved plates. Title-page printed in red and black.

 

Contemporary sprinkled calf, gold-tooled spine, red edges. The binding slightly damaged by the sprinkled acid, paper slightly browned, otherwise a very good copy with ample margins.

 

Third Latin edition of a groundbreaking work by celebrated Italian Baroque painter and paleontologist Agostino Scilla (1629-1700), who pioneered the scientific study of fossils.

 

It was first published in 1670 in Italian as La vana speculazione disingannata dal senso (Vain Speculation Undeceived by Sense). Scilla argued that fossils were once living creatures, opposing the popular believe that they were of supernatural origin. His work played a central role in a British debate about the formation of fossils after British naturalist had rediscovered the work in the 1690's.

 

Scilla collaborated with Pietro Santi Bartoli (1635-1700), an engraver renowned for his illustrations of Roman antiquities. Together they produced some of the earliest accurate depictions of fossils, which would greatly impress naturalists such as John Ray and John Woodward. Scilla's important fossil collection was, interestingly, acquired by John Woodward in 1717 and is now held at the Sedgewick Museum of Earth Sciences in Cambridge.

 

Nissen, Zool. Buchill. 3780; Ward & Carozzi, Geology emerging, 2006; cf. Findlen, 'The Specimen and the Image: John Woodward, Agostino Scilla, and the Depiction of Fossils', in: Huntington Library Quarterly Vol. 78, No. 2 (Summer 2015), pp. 217-261.

    € 1.250,00Price
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