GOSSE, Philip Henry. Actinologia Britannica. A History of the British Sea-Anemones and Corals. John Van Voorst. 1860.
8vo. Original green gilt cloth, binding variant a; pp. xl + 362, 12 plates, 11 printed in colour by William Dickes, other text illustrations, erratum slip at p. 1; presentation inscription to ffep; bumped at corners but near fine, especially internally.
First edition, rare in such good condition. Published three years after the disastrous Omphalos, this scarce book, the standard authority on its subject, shows Gosse at his best. It is widely regarded as his most important work and rightly so, as it displays his talents for observation, description and analysis without any hint of the religious dogma that crippled his attempts to engage in the evolutionary debate. It also shows him at the height of his powers as an illustrator; the plates are simultaneously meticulous, accurate and, partly due to the work of the printer Dickes, eerily beautiful.
Freeman and Wertheimer 108. Freeman 1390.