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Lot 141: ELEAZAR ALBIN (fl.1713-1759)

BOOKS AND WATERCOLOURS

by Christie's

May 19, 1998

London, United Kingdom

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Description: A Natural History of English Insects. London: for William Innys, 1749. 4o (290 x 230mm). 100 hand-coloured engraved plates by Albin, H.Terasson, Hullet, van Gucht after Albin. (Without W.Derham's 'Notes' as usual, plate X spotted, plate XCVI with the colouring slightly smudged, light soiling and browning to upper blank margins of dedication and preface leaf.) Contemporary red straight-grained morocco gilt, g.e. (neatly rebacked, some spotting to upper cover). Provenance : John, 15th. Lord Gray (1798-1867, armorial bookplate). Fifth edition. A fine copy of a work with both text and plates drawn from personal observation. Little is known of Albin, however he does give some details in the preface of the present work: "Teaching to Draw and Paint in Water-Colours, being my Profession, first led me to the observing of Flowers and Insects, with whose various Forms and beautiful Colours I was very much delighted; especially the latter, several of which I painted after the Life, for my own Pleasure. After some time this brought me acquainted with Mr. [Joseph] Dandridge.. [He] employed me in painting Caterpillers for him, and recommended me to Mrs. [Laetitia] How[e]...For [whom]... I painted a great Number of Caterpillars and Flies; and likewise several Things relating to Natural History for Sir Hans Sloane. After this I was introduced to Her Grace Mary the late Dutchess Dowager of Beaufort, who imployed me in the same manner; this excellent Lady first persuaded me to undertake the following Work." The proposal sheet soliciting subscriptions was published in 1713-14, however the first edition was not published until 1720. Subsequent editions appeared in 1724, 1731, 1735 and 1749. Lisney 123; cf. Nissen ZBI 58.

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