Title: Memoires de l'Academie Royale des Sciences: ...
Publisher: Par La Compagnie des Libraires, Paris
Publication Date: 1734
Book Condition: Very Good+
Three volumes, comprising Vol. III, parts I to III of Memoires de l’Académie Royale des Sciences depuis 1666 jusqu’à 1699. Paris: Par La Compagnie des Libraires, 1733-1734. Part I: 231pp.; Part II: 294pp.; Part III: 215pp. 97 engraved folding plates depicting animals and skeletal diagrams. Engraved portrait frontispiece of Claude Perrault in first volume. Contemporary French calf, spines gilt, edges red; (some occasional browning; repairs to joints, some rubbing). Unidentified armorial bookplate to front pastedown beneath monogrammed bookplate "D.P." with chipmunk and two mice. A later reduced format edition of Perrault’s Memoires of 1671-1676, Perrault’s study of this nature was first published in 1669 with the results of investigations of five animals and later expanded with studies of over forty animals. Prior to 1670, most descriptions of animals paid little attention to their internal structure, and there were very few images in natural history encyclopedias that depicted skeletons or muscles. That changed with the establishment of the Académie des Sciences in Paris in 1666 by Jean-Baptiste Colbert with the approval of King Louis XIV. The Academy functioned with neither statutes nor regulations until 1699. At that time, the Academy used the term mathématique to encompass the fields that are now called astronomy, mathematics and physics, and the term physique to encompass the fields that are now called anatomy, botany, zoology and chemistry. In January 1699, Louis reorganized the Academy, giving it first regulations. The effect was to give the King more control over their activities in exchange for becoming an official institution under his protection with the new name Académie Royale des Sciences. One of the original academicians, the physician Claude Perrault, organized regular sessions at which participants could dissect deceased animals from Louis XIV’s royal menagerie and record all they observed. Lions, chameleons, bears, gazelles, wolves, ostriches, crocodiles, monkeys, eagles, tigers, porcupines and salamanders, among some, were all laid open by the academic’s scalpels. These superb folding plates record in great detail the pioneering work at the Academy. These three volumes, in three parts, focus on the transformative and foundational years of the French Royal Academy of Sciences and Claude Perrault’s efforts which had made comparative anatomy a vital tool for the classifying naturalist. Bookseller Inventory # D4425
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