General Conchology; or A Description of Shells
Arranged According to the Linnean System
Illustrated With Plates Drawn and Coloured From Nature
by William Wood
Published in London, England in 1815 by John Booth, Volume 1 but no other volumes were published, half leather binding (spine and corners) in marbled boards, similar paper inside of the covers and on the front and back flyleaves, front, top, and bottom of pages are edged, the spine has four hubs with gold embossed title, the page size is about 6 by 9 inches, 15 by 23 cm, the book contains 61 introductory pages, 246 pages of text plus 60 hand-colored engraved plates. But there are 2 plates that are numbered 4.
"General Conchology, or A Description of Shells" is one of the most beautiful early shell books. The title page states that this is volume 1, but no subsequent volumes were produced. A second edition was printed in 1835. This copy is the 1815 first edition of the book. The book covers the Chitons, the Barnacles (considered to be mollusks at this time), and the Bivalves. The other classes were probably to be covered in the never-published second volume This copy is in very good condition given its age. The leather where the spine wraps around the covers shows wears as does the lower front corner tab and the edges of all four corner tabs. There is a bookplate without anyone's name on the inside front cover. The pages are lightly toned There are some stains along the lower edges of pages 16 -23 and plate 1 near the binding but they do not enter the text or the illustrations. There is no sign of foxing or stains on any of the pages or plates. I suspect that there are not many copies of this book available because of their age and because any number of these books were destroyed to strip out their very attractive plates to be used as decorations. There are some cheap reprints that have been made and are readily available. However, the quality of these reproductions is far short of what the original book looks like.