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Malacostraca Podophthalmata Britanniae; or, descriptions of such British species of the Linnean genus Cancer as have their eyes elevated on footstalks. Illustrated with figures of all the species, by James Sowerb

This originally hand-colored engraving is from William Elford Leach’s Malacostraca Podophthalmata Britanniae; or, descriptions of such British species of the Linnean genus Cancer as have their eyes elevated on footstalks. Illustrated with figures of all the species, by James Sowerby. The work was published in 1815 in London by B. Meredith. It was illustrated, published, and sold by James Sowerby. This is a fine work on Crustacea.

Leach was an English zoologist and marine biologist and assistant keeper of the Zoological Department at the British Museum. “In 1813, when Konig was appointed Keeper of the Natural History Departments, he was given an assistant, William Elford Leach (1790-1836), perhaps one of the more brilliant minds to enter the Museum. In every generation English science has been fortunate in attracting men with intuitive feel for nature who by their gift and enthusiasm infect others and leave their inspiration planted in those who follow. Anyone, who knew Leach and even the greater number who did not, came to revere his memory and example. After over a century and half, in spite of the shortness of his service, he stands out from his contemporaries as a ‘profound naturalist.'” (Gunther, The Founders of Science at the British Museum p. 49)

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