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Duncan, P. Martin | Natural History Rambles. The Sea-Shore.

  • A very handsome copy of this popular work that was first published in 1879. It describes and illustrates a wide variety of seashore creatures, including plants, microorganisms, jellyfish and hydrozoans, anemones, corals, worms, starfish, crabs, shellfish, birds, and bony fish.

    Author Peter Martin Duncan (1824-1891) practised as a medical doctor, pursuing science as a hobby, until his appointment to a professorship in geology at King’s College. His speciality was “the corals and echinids, although he also took much interest in ophiurids, sponges, and protozoa. He adopted the viewpoint of a philosophical zoologist for this research, but also investigated the relationship between species distribution and palaeoenvironments. He described fossil coral fauna from different parts of the world and the echinids of Sind” and contributed two important papers on them (ODNB).

    “Duncan's industry was unflagging. He undertook a great amount of work, of both a popular and a scientific character. He was editor of Cassell's Natural History (1876–82), to which he contributed several important articles. He wrote a Primer of Physical Geography (1882); a small volume of biographies of botanists, geologists, and zoologists entitled Heroes of Science (1882); another on The Seashore (1879); and an Abstract of the Geology of India (1875), which reached a third edition in 1881. He also assisted in preparing the third edition of Griffith and Henfrey's Micrographic Dictionary (1875), and in revising the fourth edition of Lyell's Student's Elements of Geology (1885)” in addition to authoring at least a hundred academic papers (ODNB). Duncan was a member of the Geological Society and was awarded its Wollaston Medal in 1881. He was also a Fellow of the Royal, Linnean, and Zoological Societies.

    This copy was awarded as a prize for achievement in drawing at the York High School for Girls in 1895. The York high school was opened by the Girls Public Day School Company in November 1880 and operated until 1907.

  • London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1891.

    Octavo (163 x 101 mm). Contemporary school prize binding of burgundy calf by Bickers & Son, spine elaborately gilt in compartments, double gilt fillets and school roundel to the upper board gilt, marbled endpapers and edges, turn-ins blocked in blind. Steel engravings throughout. Prize bookplate. Spine a little faded, edges and ends of spine just a little rubbed, spotting to the endpapers and lighter spotting to the title and final leaf of text. Excellent condition.