London, Henry G. Bohn, 1842 (new edition)/ 1800+ ('appeared in parts, commencing in the year 1800', according to the preface in the new edition).
Large quarto, vi, 102 pages with 58 full-page hand-coloured engravings 'containing upwards of two hundred and twenty figures and descriptions', complete with all the original tissue-guards. These illustrations were produced from the original plates engraved circa 1800, with captions amended to incorporate revised taxonomy; numbers were also added to all individual figures and the plates themselves. The very fine hand-colouring is contemporary.
Contemporary half morocco and marbled papered boards, top edge gilt; leather on the corner tips and spine renewed, retaining the original backstrip (lettered and decorated in gilt in compartments); minor (and unobtrusive) surface worming to the exterior of the binding; minimal restoration to the leading edge of the three preliminary leaves, the second-last leaf and the rear flyleaf; scattered foxing (generally light); occasional offsetting to the tissue-guards; minimal signs of use and age; a very good copy.
'At the period when the first edition of this work was presented to the public, the study of exotic insects, and indeed the science of Entomology itself, had made but little progress in this country. The collections of Francillon, Drury, MacLeay, Sir J. Banks, and Donovan, contained almost all that was then known of Indian Entomology, with which our Continental neighbours were then, as still, comparatively ignorant. To these collections, examined by Fabricius himself, Donovan had free access, and his figures of the insects therein contained, which had served as types for the descriptions for the Entomologist of Kiel, are especially valuable. The progress of Entomology, as a science, has so much advanced, as to render a republication of this work advisable; at the same time, requiring that its original Linnaean style should not be retained, but that it should be brought down to the present state of science. This I have endeavoured to do ... I have added many additional observations ... Alphabetical and systematic indices of the work are introduced, as well as numbers, both for the plates, and for the individual figures on each plate, which were omitted in the former edition. It has unfortunately happened, from the careless indications of the older authorities, that many insects inhabiting the West Indies have been given as natives of East India; and hence it happened that Donovan, having no means of ascertaining the true locality of various species, introduced into the present work several West Indian insects. With these exceptions, the present work is intended to illustrate "the Entomological productions ... of British India" embracing also illustrations of those species which inhabit every part of that vast continent, as well as islands situated in the Indian Seas' (preface). Edward Donovan (1768-1837) was a prolific natural history writer and illustrator. His most important works include 'The Natural History of British Insects' (1792-1813), and two companion works to this volume on Indian insects: 'An Epitome of the Natural History of the Insects of China' (1798), and 'An Epitome of the Insects of New Holland, New Zealand, New Guinea, Otaheite, and Other Islands in the Indian, Southern and Pacific Oceans' (1805).