British Entomology Being Illustrations and Descriptions of t...





British Entomology Being Illustrations and Descriptions of the Genera
of Insects found in Great Britain and Ireland, Containing Coloured
Figures from Nature of the most Rare and Beautiful Species and in
many instances of the Plants upon which they are found, by John
Curtis. Printed for the author and sold by E. Ellis and Co., 92 Great
Russell Street, Bloomsbury; Simpkin and Marshall, Stationers' Court;
and J.B. Bailliere, 219 Regent Street. 1823-1840.
Half leather, marbled-paper-covered boards, some rubbing, The leather
on the spines largely dried out and the labels faded. A pencil note to
the front '16 guineas for the 16 volumes in 8' and a tipped-in
handwritten note in the hand of George West states 'This perfectly
clean copy of the British Entomology by John Curtis contains the
whole of the plates in 8 vols arranged numerically, although the title
pages are for the systemic arrangement. All the plates are of the
original and best colouring and are vastly superior to the later issues,
the text being the same throughout.'

The title pages would appear to have been specially printed for the
bound-up sets once the issues were complete.
A further note reads 'The last numbered 769 but the 205* as
well as 205 completes the total of 770 plates.'
(Plate 205 is, indeed numbered twice and the total plate count is 770
as issued. There is a duplicate plate 497 placed instead of plate no.
Yet another pencil note records Curtis' address in 1825 as Lime Grove.
The book has been extensively annotated in pencil throughout by West
citing other authorities and references.

A Guide to an Arrangement of British Insects Being A Catalogue of all
the Named Species hitherto discovered in Great Britain and Ireland,
by John Curtis F.L.S second edition, greatly enlarged. Printed for the
author published and sold by J. Pigot and Co., 59 Fleet Street;
Sherwood and Co., Paternoster Row; Simpkin and Marshall,
Stationers' Court. 1837. Octavo. 294 pp 1 page advertisements for
Curtis' British Entomology. Marbled paper covered cartonnage with
cloth spine decorated in blind. Handwritten paper label to front board
and spine. The spine shows areas of wear with loss to the foot but is
still substantially in place. The book has been annotated in pencil by
West and a handwritten note to the front indicates where an insect is

illustrated in Curtis' 'British Entomology'. Curtis' book was co-
authored by James Charles Dale, Francis Walker and Alexander

Henry Haliday, whose contributions Curtis notes in the Preface. The
book was intended by Curtis to act as an index to his 'British

More Information

The following lots of books represent the library of George West.
West's biographical details are hard to pin down, his date of birth
unknown, (probably around the 1880's) and his death sometime after
1945. He is known to have worked as an assistant and then lecturer in
Botany at the University of Dundee from 1906. At that time the
university was a constituent college of St Andrews University. West
seems to have remained there until around 1926. In his publication
'Practical Principles of Plain Photo Micrography' (1916) he describes
himself as a lecturer in Botany. Most of the books in the sale bear the
handstamp, 'George West' to the front pastedowns. Many volumes bear
extracts from booksellers' catalogues with prices of the titles,
suggesting that West liked to keep up with the current values of his
The books represent a working library and many are also
annotated in pencil in his hand, cross-referencing other works and
adding his comments. To the front of the first volume of Walker's
Diptera (see lot no.) he has inserted his handwritten poem, 'To the
Future Owners of this book'.

Geordie has now turned up his toes
And gone aloft to seek repose
From various varmints nips and stings,
Especially those base mankind brings...


...He trusts the child who gets this book
Will on the various notes just look
And feel that every pencil stroke
Helps on the game dear Walker wrote...

Although a botanist by profession, his main interest, judging by
his library appears to have been entomology and amongst the books
are some rare titles in that field many dating from the nineteenth

century, a golden age for the natural sciences. Many of the giants in
the field of Entomology are represented in the books and there are

good sets of Curtis, Donovan and Stephens with many exquisite, hand-
coloured illustrations. Geology was another of his interests, as well as

What little is known of George West is largely gleaned from a
publication from Hereford Museum published in 2007. West had
donated a large collection of mineralogical specimens to the Museum
in 1945. His connection with Hereford, however, appears to be
tenuous and the man remains something of an enigma.

Auction Date: 15th Mar 2024 at 10am

Fees apply to the hammer price:

Room and Absentee Bids:
24% inc VAT*

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24% inc VAT*

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Please see the auctioneers terms & conditions for more information

Other Lots in this Auction

Sale Dates:
15th Mar 2024 10am (Lots 1 to 521)

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