A Monograph of the Testudinata

A Monograph of the Testudinata
by Thomas Bell
Adopted for Conservation by
James G. Mead
on November 16, 2016
Plate & text of Testudo carbonaria in Bell's Monograph of the Testudinata

A monograph of the testudinata

By Thomas Bell. London: Printed for Samuel Highley, 32 Fleet Street , [1832-1836?].

A leading English zoologist who worked with Charles Darwin on the reptiles from the voyage of the Beagle, Thomas Bell (1792-1880) intended this earlier work to summarize all of the world’s turtles, both living and extinct.  Issued in parts by subscription, it ran into financial difficulties and was never completed.  Nevertheless, it is famous for its illustrations, drawn from living specimens by James de Carle Sowerby and lithographed by Edward Lear, who imbued each animal with life and individuality.  Yes, it is the “nonsense” Edward Lear; he was also a respected natural-history artist, and his magnificent hand-colored lithographs are considered the best illustrations of tortoises, terrapins, and turtles ever produced.  Only about 10 copies are held in U.S. libraries.

Condition and Treatment: 

This book is a mid-19th century volume re-bound in faux leather and buckram with machine-made marbled endpapers. The textblock is over-sewn making the pages difficult to open. The case has detached from the textblock. Conservators will disbind the volume and re-sew the textblock through the fold so that it will open easily. A new case will be created. A custom double tray will house the re-bound volume and the original covers.

Discover more about this book in our Catalog.

Adoption Type: Preserve for the Future