(1663 – 1718)
The son of James and Mary Petiver of Hillmorton, Warwickshire. Educated at Rugby Free School he was later apprenticed to Mr. Feltham, Apothecary to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. Subsequently he became Apothecary to Charterhouse and seems to have had a good practice at the White Cross near Long Lane, Aldersgate Street, London, where he resided for the rest of his life.
A close friend of John Ray and recognised as a botanist, Petiver spent a good deal of time studying natural history. In October 1695 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society.
In spite of a busy practice Petiver managed to correspond with naturalists throughout the world and form large collections representing all groups of natural science. At the same time he made numerous expeditions into the country in order to add specimens to his museum.
After a period of ill-health Petiver died, unmarried, at his home in Aldersgate Street on 20th April I7I8 and was buried at St. Botolph's Church in the same street. Although he never seemed to be comfortably off financially during his lifetime his collections, books and manuscripts were purchased by Sir Hans Sloane for £4,000, a very large sum in those days, and ultimately passed to the British Museum fomling the basis of the collections there.
Biographical references: Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature, 1859-71. BBA: I 870, 110-122. Biographie Universelle. DNB. Stearns, R.P., "James Petiver, promoter of natural science", Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Mass., 1953. [BL, 8714.cc.33.]. Waller, Dictionary of Universal Biography, 1857-63. Watt, Bibliotheca Britannica, 1824. WBI.
1. Latin, 1695-1703 [First edition].
Musei Petiveriani | Centuria Prima, | Rariora Naturæ | Continens: | viz. | Animalia, Fossilia, Plantas, | Ex | Variis Mundi Plagis advecta, | Ordine digesta, | Et | Nominibus Propriis | Signata. | [rule] | A | Jacobo Petiver, | Pharmacop. Londinens. & Regiæ Societatis Socio. | [rule] | Prima laus est humane sapientia, valde similia | posse distinguere. | Aristot. | [rule] | Londini: | Ex Officina S. Smith & B. Walford, Reg. Societatis Typograph. | ad insignia Principis in Cœmeterio D. Pauli. M DC XC V.
10 centuria. [Centuria 1: 1695] 8°: A8; 8l. [Centuria 2 & 3: 1698] 8°: B8; 8l. [Centuria 4 & 5: 1699] 8°: C8; 8l. [Centuria 6 & 7: 1699] 8°: D8; 8l. [Centuria 8: 1700] 8°: E8; 8l. [Centuria 9 & 10: 1703] 8°: F8; 8l.
Contents: [Centuria 1] Ara title; A b preface; Aza-A8a (pp. 3-15) text with 'Advertisement' under rule on lower half of A8a, signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated 30th November 1695; A8b references.
[Centuria 2 & 3] BIa-B6b (pp. 17-28) text; B7a-B8b 'Advertisement' signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated 30th May 1698 with colophon London, Printedfor S. Smith and B. Walford at the Princes Arms in S. Paul's Church Yard. 1698. under rule at bottom of B8b.
[Centuria 4 & 5] CIa-Csb (pp. 33-4 ) text; C6a-C8a (pp. 43-) names of donors of collections received, signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated 3ISt August 1699 with colophon London, Printed for Sam. Smith and B. Walford, at the Princes Arms in S. Pauls Church-yard. 1699. under rule at bottom of C8a; C8b catalogue of drugs.
[Centuria 6 & 7] Dla-D8b (pp. 49-64) text unsigned but with the address Aldersgate Street, London, and the year 1699 between rules followed by an erratum at bottom of D8b.
[Centuria 8] EIa-E8b (pp. 65-80) text signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated 3'st December 1700, incorporating at the end the names of donors of collections received with colophon London, Printed for Mr. Smith and Mr. Bateman Booksellers. 1700. under rule at bottom of E8b.
[Centuria 9 & 10] FIa-F7a (pp. 81-93) text; F7b-F8b names of donors of collections received, signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated I6th January 1703 with colophon London: Printed for Sam. Smith and Chr. Bateman, M DCC III. under rule at bottom of F8b.
Very rare. These 10 centuria together with the 10 decades of the Gazophylacium, the Catalogue of Species and Directions for Preserving Collections constitute the third volume of Petiveri Opera 1764, issued without a title page.
Bibliographical references: BL [957.c.32.(1.)]. Freilich Sale Catalog: no. 428. Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: nos. 79-84.
2. Latin, 1767 [2nd edition].
Musei Petiveriani Centuria Prima: Rariora Naturm continens, viz. Animalia, Fossilia, Plantas, Fx variis Mundi Plagis advecta, Ordine digesta, & Nominibus propriis signata.
2°: [B]2 C-H2 I1; 15l.
Contents: [B] ia-D2a (pp. I-I I) text ending with a brief glossary; D b-Iib (pp, 12-30) text under sub-heading De Scarabmis Bombyliis Anglicanis: or, An Account of English Beetles and Bees.
Very scarce. The text is printed in double columns and pages 1 to 11 constitute a reproduction in folio of nos. 79 to 84 omitting the 'Advertisements', lists of donors and more extensive glossary. Under the inadequate subheading is included the additional 'Seventeen Curious Tracts' referred to on the title-page which goes on to state that this 'completes all he [Petiver] ever wrote on Natural History'. This claim is, however, not correct as no. 61 includes a list of titles published by the author nine of which are neither included nor reproduced in the collected editions.
In order to render this bibliography of Petiver's works as comprehensive as possible, particularly as I can trace no surviving copies, these latter tracts are listed as follows: Labels for Specimens of English Wild Plants; Labels for Medicinal English and Foreign Plants,; Botanicum Londinense, or London Herbal. Giving the Names Descriptions and Virtues, &c. of such Plants about London, as have been observed in the several Monthly Herborizings made for the Use of theyoung Apothecaries and others, Students in the Science of Botany or Knowledge of Plants.; A Voyage to the Levant, viz. Sardinia, Sicily, Cyprus, Scanderoon, Rhodes, Stanchio or Coos, Samos, Scio and Smyrna. Giving an Account of each Place, their Inhabitants, Language, Coins, Weights and Measures, their Provisions and Prices, Animals, Vegetables, &c. to which are added some Plants lately discovered on the Islands of Chio and Samos.; An Account of several Collectors of natural Rarities in Italy.; De Animalibus Crustaceis Caudatis. Of divers Crustaceous Animals, as Lobsters, Crawfish, Prawns, Shrimps, &c. extracted from P. Bellonius and G. Rondeletius with Remarks on them.; A Catalogue of the more Rare Plants, now and lately growing in the Physick Garden at Leyden.; Plants observed on the famous Mountains and other Places about Geneva by the Celebrated Mr. Ray and other Botanists.; The Virtues of several Sovereign Plants found wild in Maryland with Remarks on them.
Bibliographical references: Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: no. 94.
3. Latin, 1702- [First edition].
Gazophylacii | Naturæ & Artis | Decas Prima. | In quâ Animalia, Quadrupeda, Aves, | Pisces, Reptilia, Insecta, Vegetabilia; | Item Fossilia, Corpora Marina & Stir- | pes Minerales è Terra eruta, Lapides | figurâ insignes &c. | Descriptionibus brevibus & Iconibus | illustrantur. | Hisce Annexa erit Supellex Antiquaria, Numis- | mata, Gemmæ excisæ, & sculpturæ, Opera | Figulina, Lucernæ, Urnae, Instrumenta varia, | Inscriptiones, Busta, reliquaque ad rem | priscam spectantia: Item Machinæ, Effigies | clarorum virorum, omniaque Arte producta. | Patronis suis & Moecenatibus | D.D.D. | Jacobus Petiver. | [rule] | Londini: | Ex Officina Christ. Bateman ad insignia Biblia & Corona, | vico vulgo diet. Pater-Noster-Row. MDCCII.
10 decads. [Decade 1: 1702] A8; 8l. [Decade 2: n.d.] B8; 8l. [Decade 3: 1704] C8; 8l. [Decade 4: 1704] D8; 8l. [Decade 5: n.d.] E8; 8l. [Decade 6: n.d.] π2; 2l. [Decades 7 & 8: n.d.] π2; 2l.
Contents: [Decad 1] AIa title; AIb preface; Aza-A8b (pp. 3-16) text.
[Decad 2] BIa-B8b (pp. I7-3 ) text.
[Decad 3] CIa-C8b (pp. 33-48) text with colophon London, Printed for Sam. Smith and C. Bateman, Booksellers. 1704. at bottom of C8b.
[Decad 4] DIa-D7b (pp. 49-62) text; D8a names of donors of collections received; D8b 'Advertisement' signed by Petiver at Aldersgate Street, London, and dated I5th March 1704 with colophon Sold by Mr Smith and Mr Bateman, Booksellers. at bottom of page.
[Decad 5] EIa-E8b (pp. 65-) text.
[Decad 6] Two leaves (pp. I-4) with colophon London, Printed for Mr. Christopher Bateman, Bookseller in Pater-noster-row, where Subscriptions are taken and the Figures delivered. under rule at bottom of last page.
[Decad 7 & 8] Two leaves (5-8).
[Decad 9 & 10] Two leaves (pp. 9-12) with sub-heading on lower half of page 10 Gazophylacii Naturæ & Artis Decas Decimal and colophon London, Printed for Christopher Bateman in Pater-noster-row, where this and the First Volume are Sold. under rule at bottom of last page.
Plates: The engraved plates are numbered I to C and 101 to 156 and the individual illustrations are also numbered for reference from the text. There is no order in the method of illustration, examples of the animal and vegetable kingdoms frequently occurring on the same plate. Plates I to L, LI to C and IOI to I55 were prepared and published at different times to illustrate decade I to V, VI to X and no. 53 respectively) plate I56 has no accompanying text.
The number of plate XXXVIII contains a correction made during the process of engraving while plate 155, incorrectly numbered II, was altered in manuscript at the time of issue.
Plates LXXVII to LXXX, LXXXII to XCIV, XCVI to XCIX, 101 to 102,104 to 105, 107, 116, 118, 127, 129, 138 and 151 to 153 are signed 'Sutton Nicholls sculp:'; plate LXXXI is signed 'S. N. sculp:'; plate 150.
Very scarce. Earlier states of the first five decade in this edition, printed on one side of the paper only, were published for dissection and pasting on the backs of early impressions of the first fifty plates, no. 54. No. 93 is the second edition of the five decade printed in folio and published in the first volume of the second collected edition, 1767. The plates in this and no. 87 have been interchanged in the copy collated.
Decades 6-10 together constitute a continuation of nos. 85 to 89 with the text printed in double columns. The following sentence is included in a note at the end: 'Such Generous Patrons as will be pleased to give one Guinea in Hand, instead of 10s. to forward this Work, shall have a Table Dedicated to them'. No. 60 is a reproduction of page 4.
Bibliographical references: BL [968.b.13.(2.)]. Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: nos. 85-89 & 50-54.
4. Latin, 1767 [2nd edition].
Gazophylacii Naturæ & Artis Decas Prima. In qua Animalia, Quadrupeda, Aves, Pisces, Reptilia, Insecta, Vegetabilia; Item Fossilia, Corpora Marina and Stirpes Minerales è Terra eruta, Lapides figuea insignes, &c. Descriptionibus brevibus & Iconibus illustrantur. Hisce Annexa erit Supellex Antiquaria, Numismata, Gemma excise, & sculptura, Opera Figulina, Lucerna, Urnæ, Instrumenta varia, Inscriptiones, Busta, reliquaque ad rem priscam spectantia: Item Machina, Effigies clarorum virorum, omniaque Arte producta. Patronis suds & Moecenatibus, D.D.D. [rule] Jacobus Petiver. [rule].
2°: [A]2 B-C2; 6l.; -12 p.
Contents: [A]1a-C1b (pp. 1-12), Text with sub-heading A Classical and Topical Catalogue of all the Figures in the Five Decades, or First Volume of the Gazophylacium, With References to their Tables and Numbers near bottom of C1b.
Very scarce. The text is printed in double columns to the lower part of CIb and thereafter, under the sub-heading, in three columns. This item is a composite reproduction in folio of nos. 85 to go, but omitting the dedications from nos. 85 to 89, the 'Advertisement' and Petiver's additions to his Hortus Siccus which were previously included in no. go. The reproduction of the Catalogue constitutes a third edition.
5. Latin, 1764 [First collected edition].
Jacobi Petiveri | Opera, | Historiam Naturalem | Spectantia; | Or, | Gazophylacium. | Containing | Several 1000 Figures of Birds, Beasts, Reptiles, Insects, Fish, | Beetles, Moths, Flies, Shells, Corals, Fossils, Minerals, Stones, | Fungusses, Mosses, Herbs, Plants, &c. from all Nations, on | 156 Copper-Plates, with Latin and English Names. | The Shells, &c. have English, Latin, and Native Names. | [ornate rule] | Vol. I. | [ornate rule] | N.B. About 100 of these Plates were never published before. | [ornate rule] | London: | Printed for John Millan, near Whitehall. MDCCLXIV. Price 6£. 6s. | Where may be had (lately publish'd) Price 1£ 5s. | Dillenius's General History of Land and Water, &c. Mosses and Corals, containing all the | known Species, exhibited by about 1000 Figures, on 85 large Royal 4to Copper Plates, their | Names, Places of Growth and Seasons, in English, their Names in Latin referring to each Figure.
3 vols. [Vol 1] 2°: 55 p., 292 engraved plates.; [Vol 2] 2°: 93,  p., 2 engraved plates.; [Vol 3] 8°: 96 p., 2 engraved plates.
Rare. LISNEY: Petiver's scientific writings were chiefly concerned with zoology, botany and mineralogy and included papers in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. Most of his publications consisted of monographs, pamphlets and broadsheets many of which were illustrated.
His contribution to entomology in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries comes second only in importance to the work of John Ray, as exemplified chiefly by Ray's Historia Insectorum which was published posthumously. These two early naturalists between them laid a firm foundation to our knowledge of the entomology of Britain at that time.
The entomological references are included in a variety of miscellaneous zoological, botanical and other treatises published between 1695 and I7I7. Although each species is classified by a concise descriptive sentence instead of a name, identification is a comparatively easy matter where plates are present because of the excellent drawings. It was not until publication of the Systema Naturae by Linnaeus in 1735 that a generic and specific name was given to each animal, flower and insect known to him.
I am convinced that all Petiver's works were issued separately as and when published and that any early volumes consisting of a number of them bound together was an arrangement by the purchaser and not the publisher. I do not, therefore, agree with Lowndes that most of Petiver's works, published between 1702 and I7I5 and bound in volumes, constitute first editions.
Petiver probably intended his Gazophylacium to consist of two folio volumes of five decade each. The text in the first volume was printed on one side of the paper only so that it could be cut up and pasted on the front end paper and on the backs of the plates; by this means the appropriate text faces the plate to which it refers. Copies with printed dedications pasted at the bottom of each plate occur but more often these are not present. Later the text was printed on both sides of the paper. Examples of the first volume, one of which is in my possession, are very rare and a copy in my library of the second is, as far as I can ascertain, the only one recorded.
All Petiver's works are exceedingly rare and it is doubtful if copies of many of them still exist as separate publications. Undoubtedly a considerable number would have been lost to posterity entirely were it not for the fact that John Millan, publisher and extensive dealer in new and second-hand books, realizing how scarce Petiver's works were becoming even at that time bought up all available stocks and issued them bound together with special title pages and additional unpublished material by the same author. On the verve of the title-pages the publisher has noted that the last set of Petiver's works was sold through the trade for the sum of £20, a high price in those days compared with their original cost. In order to avoid confusion Petiver's publications are collated here under cover of the titles of these two collected editions; by no means all however contain references to British lepidoptera.
The first collected edition, published by Millan in 1764, consists of two folio volumes and one octavo. It is undoubtedly this disparity in size which has resulted in many sets being incomplete with the third octavo volume missing, having no doubt become separated on library shelves.
Three years later the second collected edition was published in two folio volumes and this also consists of original copies of Petiver's works bound together. The octavo text of the original third volume was reproduced in folio and some new material was also included.
Bibliographical references: BL [439.m.14.]. Gatterer, Mineralogischen Literatur, 1798-9: 1, 273-4. Henrey, British Botanical Literature, 1975: nos. 1208-1225. Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: nos. 47 & 57.
6. Latin, 1764 [2nd collected edition].
Jacobi Petiveri Opera, Historiam Naturalem spectantia: Containing Several Thousand Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fish, Reptiles, Insects, Shells, Corals, and Fossils; also of Trees, Shrubs, Herbs, Fruits, Fungus's, Mosses, Sea-Weeds, &c. from all Parts, adapted to Ray's History of Plants, On above Three Hundred Copper-Plates, with English and Latin Names. The Shells have English, Latin, and Native Names. N.B. Above One Hundred of these Plates were never published hefore. To which are now added Seventeen Curious Tracts, Most of them so scarce as not to be purchased, Which completes all he ever wrote upon Natural History; viz. [in two columns, divided by vertical double lines, left hand column:-] Gazophylacium Natura et Artis. Musei Rariora Natura, &c. 238 Land and Water Beetles. 26 Humble-Bees. 19 [British] Fresh-Water Fishes. 42 British Land and Water Shells. 100 [British] Sea-Shells, Eggs, Stars, &c. [right hand column:-] 26 Kentish [Fossils.] 5 Sheppey Fossils. 59 Gloucestershire [Fossils.] 112 Merian's Surinam Insects. On Snails and Worms being Hermaphrodites. Ray's Method of Plants Illustrated. Herbs of the same Class have similar Virtues. Virginian Cicada, Wasps, Bees, &c. [end of double column] The Two Volumes containing above Ten Thousand Articles, Engraved in the most Accurate Manner, from Originals, the Gifts of the most eminent Persons in all Nations. The Additions Corrected by the late Mr. James Empson, of the British Museum, &c. Volume I Containing [in two columns, divided by vertical double lines, lef t hand column:-] Directions for Travellers. Gazophylacium Natura et Artis. Catalogus Classicus et Topicus. Amboina and East-India Shells, &c. English Land and Water Beetles. Humble-Bees, &c. in five Classes. De Animalibus Crustaceis, &c. Fresh-Water Fishes. De Cochleis Terrestribus ac Fluviatilibus Britan. [right hand column:-] De Pectinibus, Pectunculis, et Ostreis Britannicis. Sheppey Fossils. Fossils at Pyrton-Passage in Gloucestershire. Merian's Surinam Insects. Snails and Worms Hermaphrodites. Ray's Method of English Trees and Shrubs. Herbs of the same Class have similar Virtues. Virginian Wasps, Bees, &c. [end of double column] [double rule]. London, Printed for John Millan, Bookseller, near White-Hall. 1767. [Price, Plain, 6£ 6s.-Flies &c. coloured, 7£. 7s.-The Whole coloured, 21£.]
Jacobi Petiveri Opera, . . . The Additions Corrected by the late Mr. James Empson, of the British Museum. Volume II. Containing [in two columns, divided by vertical double lines, left hand column:-] Rudiments of Botany. Ray's English Herbal. South-Sea [Herbal.] Italian and Egyptian [Plants.] American Plants. Montpellier [Plants.] [right hand column:-] Silesian and Etrurian Plants. 164 British Butterflies, &c. Collectiana Petiveriana. English Grasses, Fungus's, Mosses, &c. Hortus Siccus. [end of double column] [double rule] London, Printed for John Millan, Bookseller, near White-Hall. 1767. [Price, Plain, 6£. 6s.-Flies &c. coloured, 7£. 7s.-The Whole coloured, 21£.]
Very scarce. Verso of title: The contents of volumes I and II, between an ornamental headpiece above and an ornamental rule below, is printed in two columns divided by vertical double lines and followed by a list of books printed for J. Millan.
This edition consists of original copies of a number of works collected together within the compass of two folio volumes. Volume I contains the earlier octavo text reprinted in folio with certain new matter but is othervv-ise unchanged except that no. 62 has been transferred from volume II to the beginning of volume I. As indicated on the title-page, copies of the work were issued with the plates either coloured or plain, or with those in no. 67 only coloured. Although not often met with in any state, copies either wholly or partially coloured are very much scarcer than those containing plain plates. In the copy collated all the plates are uncoloured.
Verso of title: The contents of volumes I and II, between an ornamental headpiece above and an ornamental rule below, are printed in two columns divided by vertical double lines followed by a list of books printed for J. Millan.
Note: This volume has the same contents as no. 57 except that no. 6z has been transferred to the beginning of volume I. Plate I, Otchides Etruriae, in no. 6I does not appear as a separate plate and the text in no. 67 is printed on both sides of a single leaf. In the copy collated several of the items have been bound out of place and nos. 63, 75 and 78 are missing.
Bibliographical references: Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: nos. 92 & 95.
7. Latin, 1764.
Gazophylacii Naturæ & Artis. ... [London, 1764].
2°: B-C2 D1; 5l.; -10 p.
Contents: 1-10, Text.
Very scarce. This catalogue, with the Latin text printed in double columns, consists of additional material which, together with plates 101 to 156, had not been published previously but were undoubtedly specially printed for the collected edition of 1764. No text relating to plate 156 appears to have been published.
Bibliographical references: Lisney, Bibliography of British Lepidoptera, 1960: no. 53.
8. English, 1767.
Jacobi Petiveri Opera, historiam naturalem spectantia : containing several thousand figures of birds, beasts ... to which is now added seventeen curious tracts ... / the additions corrected by the late Mr. James Empson ... London : Printed for John Millan, Bookseller ..., 1767.
2 v.,  leaves of plates
Very scarce. Contributors Empson, James.First published as Opera in 1764. In various pagings. Also known as Petiver's Gazophylacium (cf. Wood, 517).