Oct 14, 2021 - Sale 2582

Sale 2582 - Lot 165

Estimate: $ 700 - $ 900
Senebier, Jean (1742-1809)
Two Titles in Five Volumes, 1775 & 1782.

Including: L'Art d'Observer, Geneva: Chez Cl. Philibert & Bart. Chirol, 1775, first edition, two octavo volumes, ex libris Société de Lecture de Geneve, with stamp to titles and a presentation inscription in the first volume, "Donné par Mr. Ant. Morin," half-titles present; bound in uniform contemporary half leather and speckled paper boards, spines rubbed, contents well-preserved, 7 3/4 x 4 1/2 in.;

[And] Mémoires Physico-Chymiques sur l'Influence de la Lumière Solaire pour Modifier les Êtres des Trois Règnes de la Nature, & sur-tout ceux du Règne Végétal, Geneva: Chez Barthelemi Chirol, 1782, first edition, three octavo volumes, illustrated with two folding engravings in the first volume; bound in uniform contemporary half leather and speckled paper boards, two nicely preserved sets, 7 1/2 x 4 1/2 in. (5)

Senebier, a Swiss plant physiologist, demonstrated for the first time that photosynthesis begins when light strikes green plants and that plants use light to take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. "[Senebier's L'Art d'Observer], has been described as the century's first attempt at systematizing fundamental rules for investigating nature. The [work] was written for a competition organized by the Dutch Society of Sciences on a subject [Charles] Bonnet himself proposed. Senebier, who translated Spallanzani and carried out research into vegetable physiology, said his idea of reflecting on the art of observing was inspired by 'reading Bonnet again and again,' notably his Analytical Essay on the Faculties of the Soul and Considerations on Organized Bodies. Senebier took Bonnet's approach as a model of the analytic method and proceeded through a sort of mise en abîme in which he 'analyzed the important links in the chain' of analysis itself." (cf. Vidal, Fernando, and Brown, Saskia. The Sciences of the Soul: The Early Modern Origins of Psychology. United Kingdom, University of Chicago Press, 2011.)