Washington: Wiesedruck, 2020. Hardcover. Number 21 of 40 copies, including five sold out deluxe copies. Signed and numbered by the artist. Poe's introduction to "The Conchologist's First Book: Or a System of Testaceous Malachology" is presented within along with forty-one etchings of fifty-six shells by artist Sarah Horowitz. She writes about this exquisite book on her website: " I received two large cardboard boxes of individually wrapped shells eight years ago after the death of my paternal grandmother. Each shell was in a cellophane bag, stapled shut with a fortune-cookie-sized strip of paper on which was typed the Latin name and origin of the shell. My grandparents had purchased the shells in the Philippines where they lived in the late 1960s. Their house was a veritable cabinet of curiosities which was magical to me. I am engrossed by collections, particularly those of complex organic objects, and by the books that document these collections. This book is as much about the history of collecting and the act of recreating my grandparents’ collection, as it is about shells.
This text by Edgar Allan Poe was written as an introduction to The Conchologist’s First Book, first published in 1839 and adapted from Thomas Wyatt’s Manual of Conchology. It was intended to be a cheaper, more concise version of Wyatt’s book for use in schools. Poe was paid to have his name on the title page in order to help sales, but he also wrote an original preface and introduction, and edited and re-organized the text. Poe had an interest in shells from time spent on the South Carolina coast while in the US Navy, and considered the study of shells to be one of the most important branches of natural history. Wyatt’s original text borrowed much material from The Conchologist’s Textbook by naturalist Thomas Brown who derived his work from the writings of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Carl Linnaeus."
Orange leather spine with decorative printed paper covered boards and gray leather title label to spine. Housed in a cloth covered box with matching paper covered edges. Letterpress printed by Arthur Larson of Horton Tank Graphics on Phoenix paper made specifically for this project by Gangolf Ulbricht in Berlin, Germany. Identification pages are printed on Kaji Natural paper. Housed in a gray cloth slipcase. Binding and slipcase by Claudia Cohen. Measures 6.5 x 9 inches. Unpaginated. PRI/122121. Fine.