'Atlas de Zoologie : ou Collection de 100 Planches' by Paul Gervais (1844) is a supplementary volume of illustrations, originally produced for a large French series on zoology published between 1816 and 1830. The original series featured 60 written volumes and another 10 or so volumes of illustration plates. The series title: 'Dictionnaire des sciences naturelles, dans lequel on traite méthodiquement des différens êtres de la nature, considérés soit en eux-mêmes, d'après l'état actuel de nos connaissances, soit relativement à l'utilité qu'en peuvent retirer la médecine, l'agriculture, le commerce et les artes...'.
Paul Gervais (1816-1879) began his education in general science and medicine before specialising in palaeontology at the French Museum of Natural History in the 1830s. Soon after, Gervais was appointed to the Chair (later Dean) of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy in Montpelier in Southern France and later held professorships at the Sorbonne and the Museum of Natural History in Paris. Gervais published widely across palaeontological-related subjects including a noted supplement on French zoology/palaeontology for a series by renowned naturalist, Georges Cuvier. Gervais was one of the earliest scientists to consistently use the term dinosaur.
In a 26-page preview, Gervais provides classification details for all the species illustrated in the 'Atlas de Zoologie' (1844). The beautiful hand-coloured engravings were executed by gifted hands after designs by Prêtre, Meunier and Vaillant. It seems that one of the original editors of the enormous zoology series (1816-1830) died before this particular set of illustrations could be allocated among the supplementary volumes; thus, this later Gervais volume features some of the most curious and unusual species from across the animal world. Of particular note above (to me): dodo, koala, Tasmanian devil and Bird of Paradise.
- 'Atlas de Zoologie' 1844 by Paul Gervais (published in Paris by Adolphe Delahays) features over 250 figures of little known animals, spread across 100 illustration plates: the volume was donated by Museum Victoria and is hosted by the Biodiversity Heritage Library. [thumbnail pages]
- Paul Gervais bio: Wikipedia.
- French rare books shop, De Natura Libris, flicks through a copy of 'Atlas de Zoologie' on Youtube.
- Gervais publications at Amazon.
- Previously on BibliOdyssey: fauna - among the Delicious tags.
- This post first appeared on the BibliOdyssey website.
- Addit: the images in this post were retrieved from BHL as .jp2 files and converted into very large .jpg image files in the much loved GeoViewer program and then reduced in size by about one half. .jp2 and djvu files are excellent starting material for producing large artifact-free images; regrettably only a few(?) repositories trade in these image species.