Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania
California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California (2014)

Iconographie générale des Ophidiens (Milan-Paris, 1861–81) was a collaboration between Giorgio Jan, the Italian botanist, zoologist, herpetologist (he described over 85 new species of snakes), and founding director of Milan’s natural history museum, and Ferdinando Sordelli, an Italian illustrator and naturalist. In 1860, Jan began working with Sordelli on the Iconographie, to be published in a series of monthly issues. Jan’s death six years into the project left Sordelli to finish the work alone, and its final fascicle was published 15 years later. The California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco was an original subscriber to the series and in 1901 had the 50 fascicles bound into three volumes; it is the only extant copy that includes the original wrappers. On April 18th, 1906, the fire that broke out after the earthquake destroyed most of the Academy of Sciences library; the Iconographie was rescued by an Academy scientist who took it to the nearest police station for safekeeping. This exceptional copy was photographed by 42-line for a printed facsimile to be published by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. 

Right: Steel engraving, Enygrus carinatus, Enygrus Bibroni, 10 x 13¾ inches, 1861. Below: Steel engraving, Liasus amethystinus, 10 x 13¾ inches, 1865; Hand-colored steel engraving, Herpeton tentaculatum, 10 x 13¾ inches, [1861].