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PLUCHE, Noël Antoine (1688--1761)
Le spectacle de la nature, ou entretiens sur les particularités de l'histoire naturelle, qui ont paru les plus propres à rendre les jeunes-gens curieux, & à leur former l'esprit. ... Nouvelle édition.
A Paris chez les freres Estienne, 1771.
8 vols ; 16.8 cm. (12º)
I: xxii, [2], 561, [3] p., engr. frontis., [25] pl. (15 fold.)
II: xxiii, [1], 468 p., engr. frontis., [36] pl. (34 fold.)
III: [4], 575, [1] p., [31] fold. pl.
IV: 599, [1] p., engr. frontis., [17] pl. (9 fold.), [10] maps (5 fold.)
V: [4], 596, [4] p., engr. frontis., XVIII [i.e. 19] fold. pl.
VI: [4], 598, [2] p., engr. frontis., XXX fold. pl.
VII: [4], 554, [6] p., engr. frontis., XXXIII pl. (20 fold., 13 facsims.)
VIII: [4], 436, [4]; [4], 388, [4] p.

Anonymous. By the Abbé Pluche. Originally published from 1732 to 1750. Frontispieces engraved by De Meuse, the plates by J.C. Back (and some in vols V and VI are by De Meuse). Volume VIII carries the title Le spectacle de la nature. Tome huitieme, contenant ce qui regarde l'homme en société avec Dieu and is in two parts, with a blank before the half-title of the second part. Volume I includes three additional plates of birds not listed in the 'Explication Des Planches' at the end of the volume; volumes III and V to VIII have half-titles. Written in the form of dialogues, the work is devoted to the education of both girls and boys. Pluche's depiction of the natural world as a manifestation of benevolent Providence was immensely influential and more than seventy editions were published throughout Europe in the 18th century. The first volume was translated into English in 1733 and the remaining volumes between 1735 and 1751.

Copy Notes Marginal annotations in pencil, possibly by Soane, giving vocabulary notes in the early sections of vol. I; the front free-endpaper of the same volume is inscribed in pencil Que la terre vois soit legere / Que la terre vois soit pesante. Inserted in vol. II as a bookmark at p. 227 is a receipt [15.5 cm. x 8.0 cm.] in ink reading 1801 Eagle Epsom / May 31 / To a Chase & four to Betchworth [lig] / & back - 18:9. Soane's Notebook 41a, 30 May to 17 June 1801, has the entry: 31, Sunday, Went to Mr Peters at Betch: London Ch: to Epsom 1 day & another Ch: to Dorking & back. [41A] Go to Mr Peters at Betchworth Co:. Soane did work for Henry Peters at Betchworth Castle from 1799. See Dorothy Stroud, Sir John Soane architect (2nd ed., London 1996), pp. 177--9; and Ptolemy Dean, Sir John Soane and the country estate (Aldershot 1999), pp. 187--8.

Binding C18th polished calf, gilt-tooled spines with pomegranate ornament, red and green morocco spine-labels.

Reference Number 3791


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