London: Blackie & Son, circa 1890.
Tenth Edition, Fortieth Thousand. Leather bound. "I should feel pleased were this study to be looked upon as the peristyle of the temple in which lie hidden the mysterious splendours of Nature, and if it were the means of inspiring some with a desire to penetrate into the sanctuary itself, and uplift the veil which conceals them..." So introduces F. A. Pouchet his "Universe," a dazzling encyclopedia of natural history for the layperson, full of section titles sure to delight: "The Invisible World," "The Architects of the Sea," "The Nuptials of Plants," "Cataclysms and Upheavals of the Globe," "The Sidereal Universe." The Universe covers the animal and vegetable kingdoms, geology, the cosmos, and, a personal favorite, “Popular Errors,” a section devoted to monsters and superstitions, like dragons and sea-serpents, all illustrated in 270 engravings on wood from drawings, along with colorful tissue-guarded lithographic frontispiece of hummingbirds among tropical flowers. Félix-Archimède Pouchet (1800-1872) was a scientist and student of natural history, unfortunately remembered today not for his accomplishments in the field of cytology or as director of the Rouen Museum of Natural History, but for his staunch opposition to (and mockery of) Louis Pasteur’s germ theory. The Universe is laid out for your perusal, here in Pouchet’s gloriously illustrated layperson’s encyclopedia of natural history, here bound in handsome gilt-stamped calfskin, with rich, gold-, red-, and black-veined marbled blue edges and endpapers.
9" X 6 3/8". xvi, 564pp. No date, circa 1890. Presents nicely in protective archival jacket. Bound by Bickers & Son Bindery in full calfskin, with spine lettered and stamped in gilt in six compartments. Moderate edgewear to binding, with darkening to spine, scattered rubbing and surface scratching, rubbing to extremities and to exterior hinges, and some toning to rear board. All edges marbled, with matching endpapers in blue, gold, red, and black. Hinges are firm; binding is sound. Gift inscription dated Xmas 1891 to verso of front free endpaper. But for the very occasional stray spot of foxing, pages are nicely clean and unmarked. Illustrated throughout in 270 engravings on wood from drawings by A. Faguet, Mesnel, and Emile Bayard, with brightly colored tissue-guarded lithographic frontispiece. Very good. Item #5712