A third edition with maps and additional illustrations and content (particularly relating to gold in Australia) from earlier editions. Published by John Murray, London.
Thick Royal Octavo, bound in period half calf, rubbing spine tips and corners, top edge gilt. 592 pages after preliminaries. Coloured frontispiece of Loch Assynt. 41 lithographed plates of the principal Silurian fossils, with descriptive letterpress. Tabular diagram, sketch map and numerous woodcuts. Separate folding Geological Map of the Silurian Rocks in pocket at end. A particularly nice copy.
Carries the bookplate of William Heward Bell from the library of his stately pile, Cleeve House, Seen, Wiltshire. Cleeve built by Bell in true Jacobian style with its massive hall for displaying his hunting trophies and artefacts is a striking residence, although could do with a bit of a make-over nowadays.
Bell also signed the end papers with the qualification “Mining Engineer”’ 1870. Likely the second owner of this princely tome. It is suggested he came from a family of Cheviot shepherds of Northumberland. He was a bright lad and no doubt cut his mustard in the Northumbrian coal fields. By an early age he had patents registered for improvements in mining processes. By the time he acquired this book he controlled the entire Merthyr Tydfil coal mining operations in South Wales and seemingly everywhere that the miners could spend their hard earned was his … he also controlled coal mines in England. and was very wealthy as a result. His son Clive Bell became a renowned art critic and was part of the Bloomsbury Group … his wife Vanessa Bell was also a member … they formed an unusual threesome with Duncan Grant, who by agreement fathered a child by Vanessa. They mixed with other Bloomsbury-ites … Leonard and Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, David Garnett, Maynard Keynes etc and D.H. Lawrence … some of whose writing is said to be based on William Heward Bell and his family and their generational move from Victorian industrialists to the Arts.
The coloured folding map (53cm by 43cm) published under Murray drawn by J.W. Lowry and lithographed by Vincent Brooks is a second edition (1857) of the Geological Map of the Silurian Rocks and overlying formations as developed in Wales and the Adjacent Parts of England, chiefly prepared for the Geological Survey of Great Britain. It is in very good condition, cloth backed likely at the time of binding. The scans do not do it justice.
The plates are well executed, many by James De Carle Sowerby (1787-1872) eldest son of the great James Sowerby and founder of the Royal Botanical Society.
Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) was an incredible individual. Scottish, born into a wealthy family, sent to Durham for schooling at the age of 7, after the death of his father. He joined the military and at 16 saw action in the Peninsula War. In 1818 he met Sir Humphrey Davy who persuaded him to pursue science. He joined the Royal Geological Society … his colleagues included, William Buckland, Charles Lyell and Darwin. He worked with Lyell on the geology of the Alps. In the 1830’s he did much research in and around the England Wales border and through that established the Silurian system … the subject of this landmark work.
In 1845 Murchison new several Cornish miners who were off to Australia to explore for gold. They sent back samples … so Murchison new of the discovery of gold in Australia before Edward Hargraves. The pages on Australia gold are most interesting.
He won many distinguished awards including the Royal Society Copley Medal, the Geological Society Wollaston Medal, and the Edinburgh Brisbane Medal (Another Australian connection). Also, many overseas awards. He was President of the Royal Geographical Society on four separate occasions, importantly he was one of the founders in 1830.
A crater on the Moon is named after him as well as geographical features in Greenland, USA, Canada, Antarctica, Uganda. In Australia we have the Murchison River in WA with its two tributaries carrying his Christian names, Roderick and Impey.
Murchison and Siluria – Cornerstone Geology from distinguished author.
SO SORRY SOLD