The catalogue of an auction sale commenced on 30 January 1736, in which 450 lots of shells and 132 of Surinamese insects and reptiles were offered. To recruit connoisseurs to the collecting of marine naturalia, Gersaint prefaces the catalogue with “Observations sur les Coquillages”, in which shells are elevated to the status of works of art, and described as a source of inspiration for architects, sculptors, and painters; with a “Liste des Principaux Cabinets”; and with a list of the authors who have described shells. At the head of the catalogue, is a still-life of shells and coral, designed by François Boucher, and engraved by Claude Duflos, which serves as a condensed illustration of the collection and its decorative potential, while identifying Gersaint as the source of Rococo chic.
Bound with Catalogue raisonné d’une collection considérable de diverses Curiosités en tous Genres, contenues dans les Cabinets de feu Monsieur Bonnier de la Mosson. Paris, Jacques Barrois & Pierre-Guillaume Simon, 1744
The second work in this volume is Gersaint’s catalogue of the collections gathered by Joseph Bonnier de la Mosson (d. 26 July 1744), divided for sale in nine sections, comprising shells, insects, and animals stuffed or in preserving fluids; scientific instruments, pharmaceutical apparatus, and machinery; ornamental turning, bronzes, porcelain, clocks, and other works of art; pictures and prints; and furniture. This copy was bound for Jean-Claude Fauconnet de Vildé, Conseiller de la ville de Paris (d. circa 1765).