(New York: Published by the author for subscribers, 1882). 393 x 285 mm. (15 1/2 x 11 1/4"). xxxii,  leaves. (Without the instructions to the binder.) FIRST EDITION.
Contemporary maroon half morocco over red pebbled buckram, raised bands flanked by thick and thin gilt rules, spine panels with central gilt fleuron, gilt titling, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt (small repairs to joints at tail edge). Seven black & white in-text illustrations, three black & white plates by J. Smit, and 57 STRIKING HAND-COLORED ORNITHOLOGICAL PLATES BY J. G. KEULEMANS. Ayer/Zimmer, p. 207; Wood, p. 331. For Keulemans, see Benezit VII, 1204. Joints and extremities somewhat rubbed, buckram rather soiled, the binding solid and not displeasing; text leaves with very occasional minor imperfections (small marginal tears, slight offsetting, etc.), two leaves with thin vertical light streak (from now-gone ribbon marker?) but still a fine copy internally, generally very clean and fresh, and the attractive plates just as they should be.
With beautiful illustrations by one of the most talented bird painters of the period, this is a fine copy of what Zimmer calls a "comprehensive treatment of the entire family of hornbills." As the name of the species suggests, the hornbills' most notable characteristic is their long, curving bills, which are often colorful and display distinctively shaped protrusions called "casques" along the upper ridge of the beak. This feature makes them some of the most striking and memorable birds in the animal kingdom. In his introduction to the present work, Elliot explains that it was this "very peculiar appearance" that drew him to the Bucerotidae, and he was motivated to produce this monograph because only "generally meagre" and hard-to-find accounts of the species existed. The work was originally issued in 10 parts, and although plate no. 44 (Godwin-Austin's Hornbill) is included in the list of plates, it was never produced because there was "no specimen obtainable." The remaining 57 hand-colored illustrations were provided by the popular natural history artist John Gerrard Keulemans (1842-1912). A keen observer with a pension for accuracy (and described by Benezit as having a "very precise" hand), Keulemans was a favorite among late 19th century naturalists such as Sir Walter Lawry Buller, Henry Seebohm, Osbert Salvin, and Frederick Du Cane Godman. Daniel Giraud Elliot (1835-1915) had a love and appreciation for nature that led him to pursue a career in natural history from an early age. According to ANB, "Of his generation of prominent American naturalists, Elliot had traveled most widely outside the United States," spending time in the West Indies, Brazil, Turkey, Egypt, Palestine, Ethiopia, Somalia, India, China, Japan, and Europe, among other places, where he studied the regional avifauna and collected specimens. In addition to his ornithological works (which include several monographs and a work on North American bird species), Elliot also studied mammals, particularly primates, and was awarded the role of curator of zoology at the Field Columbian Museum in Chicago in 1894. While not of the greatest rarity, the present work seldom appears for sale, as here, in appealing condition. (Lhi21110)
Add to Cart Price: $42,500.00
PJP Catalog: Natural History.008