Essai sur l’Histoire naturelle du polype, insecte
One volume in-8º of viij, 359 pp. 22 folded plates; marbled brown calf, spine with raised bands and decorated, tan title page, red edges. Some soiling to the boards with stains in the upper margin, small light wetness in the upper margin of a few ff., some foxing. Lower and upper corners worn, one title-piece missing.
Rare first edition of the French translation by Pierre Demours (1702-1795) of the first published work on polyps by the famous English naturalist Henry Baker (1698-1774). The illustration includes 22 plates.
Henry Baker (1698-1774) was a biologist and member of the Society of Antiquaries.
Under the tutoring of bookseller, Baker developed a system for teaching people with hearing limitations. This trick brought him a good amount of income and the opportunity to meet Daniel Defoe. In 1740 Baker was elected a member of the Society of Antiquaries of London and of the Royal Society. In 1744 he received the Copley Medal for his microscopic observations of the crystallization of salt particles. He also studied several species of aquatic animals as well as fossils. He was one of the founders of the Royal Society of Arts in 1754 and became its secretary. He was a member of the Society of Antiquaries.
He published, among others, The Microscope made Easy 1743, Employment for the Microscope 1753 (he published the Microscope put within the reach of everyone, translated into French by Father Esprit Pezenas (1692-1776) in 1754) and several volumes of poetry including The Universe, a Poem intended to restrain the Pride of Man 1727. His name is also attached to the Bakerian readings of the Royal Society which he founded with a donation of £100. He died in London in 1774.