8vo. [21.5 x 13 cm], 11 volumes. I: (2) ff., 176 pp., 220 pp.; II: 352 pp., (1) f. errata; III: (2) ff., 344 pp., (1) f. errata; IV: (2) ff., 324 pp.; V: (2) ff., 397 pp.; VI: (2) ff., 442 pp. [last 2 ff. mispaginated]; VII: (2) ff., 378 pp.; XIII: (2) ff., 330 pp. [pp. 321-4 misbound], (1) f. errata; IX: (2) ff., 448 pp.; X: (2) ff., 420 pp., (1) f. errata; XI: (2) ff., 197 [i.e. 207] pp., 2 ff. printer’s notices. Uniformly bound in contemporary brown mottled calf, spines in decorative gilt compartments, title and volumes gilt on red and green letterpieces. Occasional very light toning to a few gatherings, otherwise immaculate. An excellent set.
First edition of a landmark publication in the history of chemistry, Fourcroy’s 10-volume encyclopedic treatise of chemical theory and application. The treatise draws on twenty years of research conducted by Fourcroy, from his private lectures in the early 1780s to his most recent investigations into mercury oxides and salts, carried out with his younger partner Vauquelin. “The best account of the state of the science at the time” (Ferguson).
“Believing that the time had come for chemistry to separate from natural history, Fourcroy began in 1793 to compose his monumental treatise on the theory of chemistry, containing more information on the subject than any other work yet published. Fourcroy classed substances into eight categories according to their composition, from simple elements to complex organic compounds; his discussions of each category drew both from his own extensive knowledge of chemistry and from the latest observations and discoveries of French and foreign colleagues. Fourcroy considered that chemistry could be understood only through study of its four parts—history, theory, practice and application—and at first had intended to write separate treatises for each, but ended up incorporating short accounts of the other parts in the present work, as he was not sure he would live to complete the project at first planned” (Norman).
* Ferguson I.288; Norman 283; Duveen p. 226 (4to edition); Smeaton pp. 75-7, 225-6; DSB V.89-93.