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Jenyns, Leonard | Observations in Meteorology

  • First edition of this significant contribution to 19th century meteorological records, uncommon in such nice condition.

    By the close of his career author Leonard Jenyns (later Blomefield, 1800-1893) was considered a “patriarch of natural history studies in Great Britain” (ODNB). Interested in science from a young age, Jenyns attended Cambridge, where he became a close friend and collaborator with J. S. Henslow. In 1823 Jenyns was ordained, and his first post was as curate of Swaffam Bulbeck, where he made the meteorological observations published in the present volume. Cambridge was nearby, and he maintained strong relations with his colleagues there, becoming friends with the younger Charles Darwin during the naturalist’s time as an undergraduate. Most famously, Jenyns was invited to join the Beagle voyage but declined and recommended Darwin instead, later writing that, “no better man could have been chosen for the purpose” (Darwin Correspondence project biographical sketch). Darwin and Jenyns remained friends and correspondents for the rest of their lives, with Jenyns describing the fish specimens that Darwin collected on his journey, culminating in Fishes of the Zoology of the Voyage of the Beagle, published between 1840 and 1842.

    Jenyns was a tireless observer, and made numerous contributions to the field of natural history. Other than the Fishes, his most important publications were A Systematic Catalogue of British Vertebrate Animals and A Manual of British Vertebrate Animals; “the latter work was held in high estimation as a work of reference” (ODNB). “In 1856 at the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Cheltenham, he read a paper entitled 'The variation of species', a paper of which Darwin asked to be sent a copy. (Jenyns broadly supported the latter's ideas, subsequently published in Origin of Species.) In 1869 Jenyns was the donor of the Jenyns Library, a munificent gift of some 1200 volumes, which went to Bath's Royal Literary and Scientific Institution. He also donated to this institution his choice herbarium of British plants, consisting of more than forty folio and an equal number of quarto volumes, the result of his life work in this branch of science... The Proceedings of the Bath Field Club abound with papers and addresses from his pen. Not the least valuable are those on the climate and meteorology of Bath. It was entirely at his instance that the small observatory was erected in the Institution gardens in 1865” (ODNB).

  • ...Relating to Temperature, the Winds, Atmospheric Pressure, the Aqueous Phenomena of the Atmosphere, Weather-Changes, etc., Being Chiefly the Results of a Meteorological Journal Kept for Nineteen Years at Swaffham Bulbeck in Cambridgeshire... London: John van Voorst, 1858.

    Octavo. Original green cloth, titles to spine gilt, decorative roundels to spine and borders to boards clocked in blind, yellow coated endpapers. Single leaf of publisher’s ads at rear. Lightly rubbed at the extremities, spine a little rolled, endpapers and half title tanned, occasional small spots to contents. An excellent copy, the cloth fresh.