LYELL, Charles A Manual of Elementary Geology: or, the ancient changes of the Earth and its inhabitants as illustrated by geological monuments. John Murray. 1855.
8vo. Contemporary half tan calf, spine with gilt raised bands and gilt red morocco lettering piece; pp. xvi + 655, frontispiece, numerous text illustrations; very clean internally, very good. Provenance: Inscribed on the half title from the author to Sir William Robert Grove, giving his address on Upper Baker Street. Judge, physicist and correspondent of Lyell (the Royal Institution holds 25 letters from Lyell to Grove), Grove (1811-1896) is best known for his work on fuel cells, but also developed an early electric light and with John Peter Gassiot worked on early photography.
Fifth edition. First published in 1838 as Elements of Geology, this was Lyell's second great work. It started life as a series of lectures given at King's College London in 1831-3 which were intended as an expansion of one section of his Principles of Geology but became an important book in its own right, the standard work on stratigraphical and palaeontological geology. Building on the theoretical groundwork he had done in Principles, Lyell presented here the first textbook of descriptive geology based on the assumption that all geological phenomena have natural and knowable causes. The book ran through a number of editions in the 1850s as geological research advanced, and the fifth edition is considered the best, being greatly enlarged and remaining unrevised until a last lifetime edition in 1865 added a few small amendments and reverted to the original title.