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Sandtique Rare Prints

MURINE OPPOSUM & PACA from "Barr's Buffon" dated 1792 - Engraving

$ 11.24



This 219 year old print is from "Barr's Buffon, BUFFON'S NATURAL HISTORY, A THEORY OF THE EARTH, A GENERAL HISTORY OF AN, OF THE BRUTE CREATION AND OF VEGETABLES, MINERALS, ETC.". This print came from a  book by Compe de Buffon and the plates are signed Published by J.S. Barr, 1792.

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon (1707 –  1788) was a French naturalist, mathematician, cosmologist, and encyclopedic author. His works influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Georges Cuvier. Buffon published thirty-six quarto volumes of his Histoire naturelle during his lifetime; with additional volumes based on his notes and further research being published in the two decades following his death. It has been said that "Truly, Buffon was the father of all thought in natural history in the second half of the 18th century."

In 1739 he was appointed head of the Parisian Jardin du Roi with the help of Maurepas; he held this position to the end of his life. Buffon was instrumental in transforming the Jardin du Roi into a major research center and museum; he also enlarged it, arranging the purchase of adjoining plots of land and acquiring new botanical and zoological specimens from all over the world.

He was made Comte de Buffon in 1773. He died in Paris in 1788.

His work in Natural history

Buffon is best remembered for his Histoire naturelle, générale et particulière (1749–1788: in 36 volumes; an additional volume based on his notes appeared in 1789). Originally intended to cover all three "kingdoms" of nature, the Histoire naturelle ended up being limited to the animal and mineral kingdoms, but Buffon's view of natural history as a broad and necessarily theoretical enterprise ensured that the Histoire naturelle was anything but narrow. "Written in a brilliant style, this work was read ... by every educated person in Europe."

In the opening volumes of the Histoire naturelle Buffon questioned the usefulness of mathematics, criticized Carl Linnaeus's taxonomical approach to natural history, outlined a history of the earth with little relation to the Biblical account, and proposed a theory of reproduction that ran counter to the prevailing theory of pre-existence. 

Buffon noted that despite similar environments, different regions have distinct plants and animals, a concept later known as Buffon's Law, widely considered the first principle of biogeography. He made the suggestion that species may have both "improved" and "degenerated" after dispersing from a center of creation. In volume 14, in particular, he argued that all the world's quadrupeds had developed from an original set of just thirty-eight quadrupeds.  On this basis, he is sometimes considered a "transformist" and a precursor of Darwin. He also asserted that climate change may have facilitated the worldwide spread of species from their centers of origin. Still, interpreting his ideas on the subject is not simple, for he returned to topics many times in the course of his work.

Buffon considered the similarities between humans and apes, but ultimately rejected the possibility of a common descent.

In Les époques de la nature (1778) Buffon discussed the origins of the solar system, speculating that the planets had been created by a comet's collision with the sun. He also suggested that the earth originated much earlier than 4004 BC, the date famously determined by Archbishop James Ussher. Basing his figures on the cooling rate of iron tested at his Laboratory le Petit Fontenet at Montbard, he calculated that the age of the earth was 75,000 years. Once again, his ideas were condemned by the Sorbonne, and once again he issued a retraction to avoid further problems.

Charles Darwin wrote in his preliminary historical sketch added to the third edition of On the Origin of Species: "Passing over... Buffon, with whose writings I am not familiar." Then, from the fourth edition onwards, he amended this to say that "the first author who in modern times has treated it [evolution] in a scientific spirit was Buffon. But as his opinions fluctuated greatly at different periods, and as he does not enter on the causes or means of the transformation of species, I need not here enter on details." He brought the idea of evolution into the realm of science. He developed a concept of the "unity of type," a precursor of comparative anatomy. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the acceptance of a long-time scale for the history of the earth. He was the founder of biogeography. And yet, he hindered evolution by his frequent endorsement of the immutability of species.

This copper engraving print (the size of the picture) is about 3" x 4 1/2" on a page that is about 4 1/2" x 7 1/2" It is in  good condtion with slight age toning. It has high detail and a deep plate indentation. It is suitable for framing and would be an excellant gift.

This is a Rare Print. The total book is for sale for up to $ 1,000 on the Internet.  

The print that is being sold is of  "VIRGINIAN OPOSSUM, MURINE OPOSSUM & PACA". 

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