Geology & Earth Science

Hibbert, Samuel | History of the Extinct Volcanos of the Basin of Neuwied

  • First and only edition of this rare work on the effect of volcanic activity on the development of the Rhine Valley, in the original cloth. WorldCat locates only three copies, at Berlin, Göttingen, and the University of Manchester. Only two have appeared at auction in the last decade, this copy at at Forum Auctions in 2017 and one in library cloth at Dominic Winter in 2013.

    Author Samuel Hibbert Ware (1782-1848) was an antiquarian and geologist who spent most of his life in Edinburgh, where he was a member of numerous learned societies and was friendly with notables such as Sir Walter Scott. “In 1817 Hibbert visited Shetland, where he discovered 'chromate of iron' and undertook a geological survey of the country. For this discovery the Society of Arts awarded him in 1820 the Iris gold medal. In Shetland he also discovered what he described as 'native hydrate of magnesia'. In 1822 he published his Description of the Shetland Islands, in which he described the local geology and antiquities. Hibbert contributed various papers to the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, of which he was secretary from 1823 to 1827, with responsibility for obtaining contributions for meetings and preparing them for publication. He remained an active member of the society, editing volumes and helping run the museum, under what were sometimes difficult conditions.... In 1824, at the request of the Manchester Literary and Philosophical Society, Hibbert delivered at Manchester a course of lectures on geology, and in 1827 a further course for the Manchester Royal Institution... He and his family also spent two or three years abroad, chiefly visiting the volcanic districts of France, Italy, and northern Germany, and he published a History of the Extinct Volcanoes of the Basin of Neuwied on the Lower Rhine (1832) on his return to Edinburgh” (ODNB).

    A History of the Extinct Volcanos was well received in the scientific community. A near contemporary, Edward Hull, described it as a work of “remarkable merit, if we consider the time at which it was written. For not only does it give a clear and detailed account of the volcanic phenomena of the Eifel and the Lower Rhine, but it anticipates the principles upon which modern writers account for the formation of river valleys and other physical features; and in working out the physical history of the Rhine Valley below Mainz, and its connection with the extinct volcanos which are found on both banks of that river, he has taken very much the same line of reasoning which was some years afterwards adopted by Sir A. Ramsay when dealing with the same subject. It does not appear that the latter writer was aware of Dr. Hibbert’s treatise” (Hull, Volcanos Past and Present, p. 7).

  • ...on the Lower Rhine. With Maps, Views, and Other Illustrations. Edinburgh & London: W. and D. Lang; Treuttel and Wurtz ad Richter, 1832.

    Octavo. Original brown silk morieé, printed paper label to spine. 2 hand-coloured maps, one being the double page folding frontispiece, 6 lithographed plates of which 3 are double page, 18 illustrations within the text. Table and directions to the binder at rear. Publisher’s advert on the front pastedown, covered by a late-19th century Munden family bookplate. Splits at the head of the spine, some small worn spots at the extremities, joints cracked, some light offsetting affecting the maps, some of the plates darkened, light spotting to the edges of the text block. Edges untrimmed. Very good condition.