A Fine Set of Gould’s Masterpieces
A set of John Gould’s MAGNIFICENT BIRD BOOKS.
A fine set of Gould’s studies of birds in attractive contemporary bindings.
John Gould was not only one of the most distinguished ornithologists of the nineteenth century, he was also a brilliant artist and highly skilled publisher. Over a period of fifty years he brought these energies together, dominated the field of ornithological discovery, and produced folio works of unrivalled beauty and scholarship. Each work he conceived, researched (often by extensive travel in hazardous conditions) and wrote. For the lithographic plates he composed the subjects, did rough drawings of great perception, and personally supervised the completion of the plate by his wife and other artists. And not least, having brought the work into being, he subscribed, distributed and sold the copies to the most discriminating audience of the day - from royalty to the leading natural history institutions and scholars in Great Britain, Europe, America, and Australia.
“All ornithologists are not artists. Many artists are not successful businessmen. In the field of natural history the accomplishments of this man in his 76 years of life from 1804 to 1881 are truly monumental. No other ornithologist has ever exceeded (or will ever exceed) the number of Gould’s bird discoveries and the magnitude and splendour of his folio publications” (Gordon Sauer, John Gould the bird man).
These publications were amongst the most lavish and luxurious publications of the nineteenth century. The sets were produced in small numbers at great expense. Each set or monograph would have been considered a great treasure of the library. To have a virtually complete set, as here, would have been a notable achievement, and this remains the case today. The works are all very focused, and in the texts Gould refrains from any mention of politics, religion, society, or history. Just the occasional remark on shooting or fishing interrupts the ornithological matter. Indeed when not organizing and directing his great publishing projects, Gould was a keen angler, and would sit for long periods on the bank, smoking a cigar, stalking his trout, and no doubt thinking what great work he could initiate next.
The set includes all ten of his major ornithological works, alongside the Icones avium, a two part supplement to his earlier works, and The Mammals of Australia. The inclusion of the second rather than first edition of A Monograph of the Trogonidae, or Family of Trogons is desirable given it was “in reality a new publication, all the plates having been redrawn, and many new species figured for the first time” (Gould, Preface). It is essentially a completely new work with re-written text, and including 12 new species.
Similarly the collection benefits greatly from the incorporation of Icones avium - one of Gould’s rarest books. It was intended as an ongoing publication, providing a platform from which previously undescribed species from all bird families could be periodically presented to the public. However Goulds' research in Australia (1838-40) interrupted the series after just two parts and the work was never resumed.
Description and Bibliographical references: 12 folio works in 44 volumes, complete with 3158 fine hand-coloured lithographs by Elizabeth Gould, William Hart, Edward Lear and Henry Constantine Richter. All first editions, except for one expanded second edition as stated, comprising: A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains, 1832, 80 plates; The Birds of Europe, [1832-]1837, 5 vols, 448 plates; A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans, 1834, 33 plates; Icones avium, or figures and descriptions of new and interesting species of birds from various parts of the world, 1837-, 18 plates; The Birds of Australia together with the Supplement, [1840-]1848-1869, 8 vols, 683 plates; A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America, [1844-]1850, 32 plates; The Mammals of Australia, [1845-]1863, 3 volumes, 182 plates; A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Humming-Birds together with the Supplement, [1849-]1861-1887, 6 vols, 418 plates; Birds of Asia, 1850-1883, 7 vols, 530 plates; The Birds of Great Britain, [1862-]1873, 5 vols, 367 plates; A Monograph of the Trogonidae, or Family of Trogons, 1875, second edition, 47 plates; The Birds of New Guinea and the Adjacent Papuan Islands, 1875-1888, 5 vols, 320 plates. All with fine contemporary bindings, most in full or half green morocco.
Provenance: An English gentleman.
Warhol’s Endangered Species
This complete set of 10 screenprints was created in 1983 and came primarily out of Warhol’s concern over ecological issues.
After a conversation with his New York art dealers Freya and Ronald Feldman, Warhol agreed to produce a body of work based on animals on the endangered species list. Warhol used his fame and notoriety to bring the issue to the forefront of popular culture. At the time of its creation the series was exhibited at the Museum of Natural History in New York to great acclaim and was also used to illustrate the book Vanishing Animals by Kurt Benirschke.
All screenprints are signed in pencil and numbered from the edition of 150 (total edition includes 30 artist's proofs), 965 x 965 mm / 38 x 38 in, on Lenox Museum Board, with the blindstamp of the printer, Rupert Jasen Smith, published by Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, Inc., New York.
Audubon’s Animals of North America
AUDUBON, John James; Rev. John Bachman.
The Viviparous quadrupeds of North America.
Publication: J.J. Audubon (-V.G. Audubon), New York, 1845-.
Audubon's magnificent final work, with brilliantly coloured plates. One of the very few great colour plate books on animals.
Born in Santo Domingo (now Haiti) in 1785, as the son of a French sea captain and a French chambermaid, Audubon arrived in America in 1803 and settled near Philadelphia. In 1820, facing bankruptcy as a result of several failed business ventures, Audubon decided to pursue his life-long interest in natural history and initially devoted his time to producing a complete record of American birds. He traveled for the next four years along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in search of species that may not have been included in the work of Alexander Wilson. The result of this endeavour was the famous The Birds of America. This was published in very large format (so-called double-elephant folio) between 1827 and 1838.
In the early 1840’s at the same time Audubon was producing the commercially successful octavo edition of his masterpiece, The Birds of America, he and his sons also began production of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, an elephant folio of 150 lithographs meant to match the lavishness of the Birds. Unlike the double-elephant folio Birds, the Quadrupeds was produced entirely in the United States, making it the "largest single color plate book to be carried to a successful conclusion during the century [in this country]" (Reese). It took the Audubon family five years to publish the 150 plates and there were at that time three hundred subscribers. The book was the product of Audubon's collaboration with John Bachman, a pastor who had studied quadrupeds since he was a young man and who was recognised as an authority on the subject in the United States.
This was a most ambtious project to be undertaken by a man of Audubon’s age (he was fifty-seven when he started work on it). Many of the species were little known or poorly documented, and it would involve Audubon to seek out many species himself. In 1843 Audubon led a small party on an exploration to the Rockies to gather material. They never reached the Rockies but returned home with enough specimens pickled in rum to enable Bachman to proceed with the text. By 1848 the last of the plates appeared, but the project had exhausted Audubon. After 1846 his eyesight was poor and his mind was wandering and it fell to his two sons to complete the project. Audubon was only to live another three years.
“These final prints specifically document the senior Audubon’s fascination with the disappearing “frontier.” Somber images, such as the Entrapped Otter canvas which foregrounds an otter’s paw caught in the vice of a large, jagged metal trap, clearly evidenced the artist’s growing concern for the survival of many natural species in the face of vast human encroachment.” (Milwaukee Art Museum).
“The largest successful colour plate book project of 19th-century America” (Reese).
Description and Bibliographical references: First edition. Three atlas volumes, elephant folio (69.2x53 cm) and 3 volumes text, royal 8vo (26.5x18 cm). Three lithographic title-pages and 3 leaves of contents in letterpress. 150 hand-colored lithographic plates after John James and John Woodhouse Audubon, the backgrounds after Victor Audubon, by J.T. Bowen; text volume with 5 lithographic plates. (The titles and contents leaves creased and spotted, volume 1 title with a short marginal tear, volume 2 title with small losses in the top margin, plates 41, 56 and 101 evenly browned, plate 51 with shallow crease, plate 81 with small area of marginal soiling, a few short marginal tears, the margins lightly yellowed and with occasional light spotting, this a little more pronounced in volume 1; text volumes with margins lightly yellowed and occasional minor spotting, text volume 2 without half title and final blank, and text volume 3 without final blank.) Atlas volumes bound in contemporary maroon half leather over cloth boards, the sides ruled in gilt, the spines ruled, tooled and lettered in gilt, yellow coated endpapers, edges gilt; text volumes bound in contemporary half russia, spines with raised bands gilt and lettered in compartments, marbled endpapers, neat restroration to joints and extremities, an excellent set with fine clean plates.
Bennett, p.5; McGill/Wood, p.208; Nissen ZBI 162; Reese 36; Sabin 2367.
Provenance: 'W Coll 9119 [-9121]' (shelfmarks on endpapers); 'XBCA AU2' (shelfmarks at foot of atlas volumes).
Catesby’s Birds and Beasts
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants ... Together with their Descriptions in English and French.
Publication: For the author, London, [1729-] 1731 [-1743-1747-1771].
The rare first edition of the first book with coloured plates to include American birds.
Bird books were popular in eighteenth century England, both as works of scholarship and as splendid collectables for the libraries of wealthy connoisseurs. The naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) born in Essex, produced one of the most lavish of these with this magnificent work, the result of a series of voyages to North America.
He seems to have been educated locally in spite of having affluent parents, forgoing a university education, but benefiting from the antiquarian and botanical knowledge of his grandfather Nicholas Jekyll, who was acquainted with the naturalist John Ray. Ray greatly influenced Catesby; Samuel Dale, an apothecary at Braintree, not far from Sudbury where Catesby lived, was also of great importance to him. Catesby raised the means for starting on a voyage in 1712 to Virginia where he stayed with his aunt Elizabeth Cocke and her physician husband. He studied botany and wildlife there for seven years.
Catesby returned to England in 1719 with a collection of dried plants, reported to have been the most perfect ever brought into the country, which attracted the attention of men of science, especially Sir Hans Sloane and Dr Sherard.
Catesby remained in England for some time, arranging and naming his specimens, a considerable number of which passed into Sloane's museum (thereafter into the British Museum and ultimately the Natural History Museum). With assistance from Sloane and others, Catesby went again to America in 1722 and sent from Carolina to his English subscribers large quantities of biological material. He also prepared for himself large drawings of birds, reptiles, fish, and plants, and explored the Bahama Islands in 1725.2 (ODNB).
Returning to England in 1726, he studied etching to make the illustrations for his own works. As well as birds, Catesby also depicted flowers and the coralline reefs of the Bahamas. The Natural history of Carolina ... became the most authoritative treatment of the natural history of British North America before the American Revolution. A self-taught naturalist, he not only drew all the plates bar two by Ehret, he also coloured all 156 sets himself, a total of some 34,320 plates!
Apart from his fame as an author and illustrator, Catesby’s name lives on in the modern name for the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana, and Lilium catesbaei, the Southern Red, or Catesby’s Lily.
His is a beautiful book, not as polished as the later works of the great age of bird illustration, or the botanical works of the great continental artists such as Ehret, but it is the first book to cover the subject in such depth, and his very individual style gives the book great charm.
"Mark Catesby made a valuable and important contribution to ornithological illustration. He was confident enough to break new ground to portray his birds more naturally than before, with foliage backgrounds, and to adopt the folio format. He depicted the natural history of one area in its entirety, and often drew from living models. He was the first in a long line of ornithologists to teach himself to translate his drawings into a medium that produced multiple copies. As his was the earliest published natural history of a part of the New World, he has been called 'the father of American ornithology'" (Jackson).
"The most famous colorplate book of American plant and animal life. ... It is a delightful and amusing book [and] a fundamental and original work for the study of American species" (Hunt).
Description and Bibliographical references: First edition. Large folio (51 x 37 cm). 2 volumes, comprising 10 parts and Appendix, bound in one volume. Title-pages printed in red and black in English and French, text in parallel columns of English and French, with the list of 'encouragers' (subscribers list with the name 'Iley'), dedication leaf in each volume (vol. I, Queen; vol. II, Princess of Wales), 'An Account of Carolina, and the Bahama Islands' bound following plates and descriptive text of volume II with an etched headpiece by Catesby and historiated woodcut initials and tailpiece, 3-leaf index to volumes I and II bound at end of volume II, single-leaf index to Appendix bound in volume III with the Appendix text and plates, first 20 text pages of volume II with page numbers altered to 1-20 from 120-140, text and plates on paper watermarked with various crowned shields; 220 fine handcoloured etched plates after and by Catesby and mostly signed with his cipher, excepting plates 61 and 96 in volume II by G.D. Ehret, double-page handcoloured engraved map in volume II. (Tiny marginal tear to text leaf F2, pl.62 and second vol. title, some mostly light but variable offsetting, very occasional light spotting.) Contemporary diced russia, covers with gilt border of palmettes and stylized fleur-de-lys, cornerpieces with floral sprays and acorns, spine gilt in compartments with black morocco label, marbled endpapers, rebacked preserving original spine, neat restoration to extremities, a fine copy.
Dunthorne 72; Fine Bird Books 65; Great Flower Books 53; Hunt 486; Jackson, Etchings 86-87; Nissen, BBI 336; Nissen, IVB 177; Nissen, ZBI 842; Pritzel 1602; Slithy Toves 108.
Manetti’s Bird Book
Ornithologia methodice digesta atque iconibus Aeneis ad vivum illuminatis ornata (Storia naturalli degli uccelli).
Publication: In Aedibus Mouchianis (I-III), Cajetanum Cambiasium (IV), Giuseppe Vani (V). Florence, 1767-1776.
A crisp copy of the finest Italian bird book.
Saverio Manetti (1723-1785) was a prominent Florentine physician and botanist and a member of some of the leading scientific societies in 18th century Europe.
In addition to his other accomplishments Manetti produced one of the finest bird books of the eighteenth century, the Ornithologia Methodice Digesta which prefigured the later more ornithologically oriented books by trying for the first time, to show birds that did not look obviously stuffed, against backgrounds that are relatively realistic ones rather than artificial branches.
It was commissioned by Maria Luisa, the Grand Duchess of Tuscany, and the copper-engravings were made by Violante Vanni and Lorenzo Lorenzi over an almost a ten-year period from 1767 to 1776.
Manetti worked almost exclusively from real specimens, beginning with the extensive collection of Marquis Giovanni Gerini. The result was one of the largest surveys of ornithology attempted up to that date, a work “larger, better engraved and more vividly coloured than any previous book on birds, notable for its lively posturing of the specimens. It is one of the half-dozen or so Great Bird Books in the collector's sense.
The attitudes of the birds themselves give this book its unique character. Strutting, parading, posturing, and occasionally flying. To the collector it is certainly a great book with very beautiful plates.” (Dance).
Description and Bibliographical references: Five volumes, folio (46.6 x 37cm.), 5 engraved additional titles, printed titles in Italian and Latin with engraved vignettes, 2 engraved dedications, engraved portrait of Giovanni Gerini, 600 fine hand-coloured engraved plates, recent vellum, light dampstaining on a few plates and text leaves, but generally clean, an attractive set.
Dance p.70; Nissen IVB 588; Wood p.450; Fine Bird Books p.10; Zimmer I, 241.
Publication: Firmin-Didot, Paris, 1817-1821-1824.
A special copy with an extra suite of the engravings, the masterpiece of Pierre Joseph Redoute, one of the greatest of all flower artists who was employed by the Empress Josephine, wife of the Emperor Napoleon, as official court artist at her Malmaison estate outside Paris.
During the 1790s, Belgian born Redouté (1759-1837) became one of the most popular flower painters. He perfected the color stipple engraving technique, which he had learned during a stay in London and first applied it in his illustrations for de Candolle's work Plantes Grasses.
Paris was the cultural and scientific centre of Europe during an outstanding period in botanical illustration, one noted for the publication of several folio books with coloured plates. Enthusiastically, Redouté became an heir to the tradition of the Flemish and Dutch flower painters Brueghel, Ruysch, van Huysum and de Heem. Redouté contributed over 2,100 published plates depicting over 1,800 different species, many never rendered before.
From 1802 he published his Liliacées, in which he largely applied the technical possibilities of colour printing to the large and evenly coloured leaves and blossoms. In this work he also breached the flower painters' tradition of framing the plants with an outer contour line.
In 1805 he was appointed court and flower painter to the Empress Josephine. After the monarchy was overthrown, he remaine in close contact with the Bourbon royal family. From 1817 to 1824 he produced the work that was to become the peak of his success, namely the monography Les Roses finely printed by Firmin Didot and issued in thirty parts. Each delivery of the finished colour copperplates, was received with a storm of enthusiasm.
Les Roses is the most celebrated and the most reproduced of all flower books. In it Redoute figured almost all the important roses of his day. Included were many of the key ancestors of our present-day roses. The plates in Les Roses have artistic, botanical and documentary value, both for the species and cultivars still surviving and for those that have disappeared. The plates themselves are magnificently and delicately worked, and make Les Roses a magnificent and beautiful book.
Description and Bibliographical references: First edition. 3 volumes, folio, engraved portrait of Redoute, 169 stipple-engraved plates by Chardin, Lemaire, Langlois and others after Redoute printed in colour and finished by hand, with an extra suite of the plates in black on ochre paper, some foxing and slight browning to text, occasional marginal foxing and slight spotting to plates, overall very clean and bright, contemporary green half morocco gilt, a fine set.
Hunt. Cat. 19; Great Flower Books p71; Dunthorne 232; Nissen BBI 1599.