Darvill's Rare Prints, fine antique prints and rare maps since 1918! Darvill's Rare Prints, fine antique prints and rare maps since 1918!
Antique prints from Darvill's since 1918 About Darvill's Rare Prints
Rare Maps and Charts Limited edition prints from Alaska's most famous artist Rie Munoz Darvill's Rare Prints homepage Sorry, we do not perform appraisals and we do not buy from unsolicited sources.

Figures of Non Descript [i.e., Common] Shells, Collected in Different Voyages to the South Seas since the year 1764

by Thomas Martyn
London, 1784

Original hand-colored copperplate engravings on chain-laid, watermarked paper over 230 years old


Each sheet is 10 7/8 x 13 3/8 inches with black ink-ruled borders and numbered by hand, interleaved on blue sugar paper (15 7/8 x 16 1/8 inches) as issued, also with ink ruling and hand numbering.
No text, but copy of dated frontispiece will accompany each print.

Excerpts from the preface:

"The work will commence with the figures of shells that have been collected under the command of Captains Byron, Wallace, Cook, and others in the different voyages to the South Seas."

"The first and chief duty incumbent on the conchologist is a scrupulous and minute attention to the figure, mouth, extremeties, and convolutions of those shells...The long descriptions and details of the generation and properties of shells, given by most writers of conchology, are wholly omitted here; and the utmost care has been taken that each figure, by being an exact and faithful transcript from nature, shall be sufficiently explanatory of the subject which it represents."

After expressing great dissatisfaction with all existing systems for classification of sea shells, Mr. Martyn announces his invention of an entirely new system which is shown in his "Explanatory Table," which included the English name, the Latin name, and where the shell was collected.

"The superior style in which the work now offered to the public is executed will best appear by comparing it with all others extant either in this, or any other branch of natural history. The drawings will be minutely correct; the engravings will consist merely of a delicate outline; to this the utmost skill and labour of the painter will be added, in order to produce from the whole the full effect of that beautiful contour, rich colouring, and bold relief, which the subject so peculiarly demands, and which the art of painting alone can properly supply."

Please click on a thumbnail for enlargement. Most of the engravings are still "interleaved" on the blue sugar paper, meaning they are delicately "tipped in," or glued with 2 small dots in just two corners and easily removed from the interleaving paper for framing purposes. In some cases the print in no longer interleaved Any condition issues will be noted on the enlarged view. Our photos do not do these engravings justice; they are truly stunning in their elegant simplicity and delicate coloring.

Prismatic Buccin.


Fig. 2

Prismatic Buccin.
Bucc. Prismaticum
(Friendly Isles)

9.5 x 7.125 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$475

Thorn buccin.


Fig. 4

Thorn Buccin.
Bucc. Spinosum
(Friendly Isles)

8.75 x 6.125 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)



$475

Channeled Buccin.


Fig. 7

Channeled Buccin.
Bucc. Stristum
(New Zealand)

9.125 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)


Scoop Buccin.


Fig. 9

Scoop Buccin.
Bucc. Haustrum
(New Zealand)

9.5 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$425

Spur Buccin.


Fig. 10

Spur Buccin.
Calcar
(New Zealand)

9.5 x 7.375 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$550

Crinkled club


Fig. 12

Crinkled Club
Clava Rugata
(Friendly Isles)

9.875 x 7.5 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$425

Carnelian cowry


Fig. 14

Carnelian cowry
Cypraea carneuta
(Otaheite) [Tahiti]

10.5 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$425

Carnelian cowry


Fig. 15

Netted cowry
Cypraea reticulata
(Friendly Isles)

10.875 x 7.25 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$550

Carnelian cowry


Fig. 21

Beaded Mitre
Mitra sphaerulata
(Friendly Isles)

9.5 x 7 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$450

Clouded Mitre shell


Fig. 23

Clouded Mitre
Mitra versicolor
(Friendly Isles)

9.375 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$450

Fibrous Snail shell


Fig. 25

Fibrous Snail
Limax fibratus
(Friendly Isles)

9.25 x 7.5 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$550

Echinated Snail shell


Fig. 26

Echinated Snail
Limax echinatus
(Friendly Isles)

10.125 x 6.675 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)


French horn Snail shell


Fig. 27

French Horn Snail
Lituus
(Pulo Condore)

9.875 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$475

Rugged Trochus shell


Fig. 31

Rugged Trochus
Trochus inequalis
(Friendly Isles)

10 x 6.875 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$600

Ringed Trochus shell


Fig. 33

Ringed Trochus
Trochus annulatus
(New Zealand)

9.875 x 6.75 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$475

Ribbed Trochus shell


Fig. 34

Ribbed Trochus
Trochus costatus
(King George's Sound)
[Western Australia]

9.125 x 6.25 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$475

Dotted Trochus shell


Fig. 36

Dotted Trochus
Trochus puctulatus
(Friendly Isles)

9.675 x 6.375 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$375
(please see enlargement for condition issues)

Girdle volute


Fig. 39

Girdle Volute
Cingulum
(Friendly Isles)

8.75 x 6.75 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)

$400
(see enlargement)

rayed cockle shell


Fig. 40

Rayed Cockle
Cochlea radiata
(Friendly Isles)

10.5 x 7 inches
(dimensions of outer neat line or border)


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