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"Pioneering botanical, entomological, and petrographic observations"

TOWNSON, Robert.
Travels in Hungary, with a short account of Vienna in the year 1793.
London, G. G. & J. Robinson, 1797 4to. With a folding hand-coloured engraved map, 16 engraved plates (some folding), and a folding engraved table. Modern half calf with gold on red spine label, marbled sides. xviii, [1], 506 pp.
€ 2,000
First edition of "the best English work respecting Hungary" (Cox), soon translated into Dutch and French. Includes a chapter entitled "Alpine excursions", describing the author's plant hunting activities. The chapter on Vienna, an account that historiography has surprisingly almost ignored, deals extensively with the local gluttonous eating habits first described (and since immortalized) by Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini three and a half centuries earlier. Townson continues to describe at length the imperial hothouses and zoo at Schönbrunn Palace. The book is also "a work valuable to the natural historian, particularly the mineralogist; it also contains a very particular account of the Tokay wines" (Lowndes).
It contained pioneering botanical, entomological, and petrographic observations and spirited descriptions of his exploits, including those in the Tatra Mountains and in Slovakian caves" (ODNB).
An excellent copy in an appealing modern binding. Cox I, 168. Brunet VI, 20298; not in Nissen, BBI; Simon, Bibl. vin.; Simon, Bibl. gastr.
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Related Subjects:

Cartography & exploration  >  Voyages & Travel
Europe  >  Central & Eastern Europe
Natural history  >  Botany (General)
Science & technology  >  Earth Sciences