A Handsomely Bound Set with More than 400 Convincing Hand-Colored Ornithological Plates

COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.

(London: G.W. Nickisson; George Willis; Willis and Southeran, 1842; 1853-57). 222 x 135 mm. (8 3/4 x 5 3/8"). Seven volumes. First Octavo Edition of volume I; Second Octavo Edition of volumes II-VII.

VERY ATTRACTIVE CONTEMPORARY GREEN PEBBLE-GRAIN MOROCCO, covers with double gilt rule and dentelle borders, raised bands, spine panels with elaborate floral gilt tooling and titling, gilt floral turn-ins, all edges gilt. With 322 hand-colored plates of birds, 105 hand-colored plates of eggs, and seven black and white plates (see below) for a total of 434 plates. Front pastedown of each volume with bookplate of Marcus Steinman Kemmis. Fine Bird Books, p. 123; Anker, p. 58; Zimmer, p. 433; Wood, p. 462. Covers with a few trivial scratches, spines slightly faded, but the bindings in a fine state of preservation; occasional light foxing (more frequent in volumes V and VI) including some plates, the odd negligible blemish, but on the whole a very pleasing set with great shelf appeal, the vast majority of the contents clean and bright, and the hand coloring extremely fresh.

Wood says that Meÿer's work is, with "the possible exception of Lord Lilford’s Birds, [which was published some fifty years later] . . . the finest and most complete atlas of portraits of British avifauna (with their eggs) ever published." Following the original edition published in imperial quarto format between 1835-41, our handsome octavo edition gave a more affordable access to pages just as profusely illustrated, with hundreds of high-quality hand-painted lithographs. The author promises in his introduction to the present version that it "will, in all respects, resemble the former [edition], except in size, and no pains will be spared to render it as perfect as possible." Both editions were issued in parts and thus have slightly knotty bibliographies, with small, inevitable discrepancies in the numbers of plates from set to set. (The present copy collates as the mixed set described by Zimmer, but with one fewer black and white plate). The illustrations were drawn from nature by Meÿer (1797-1865) and his wife, and were professionally hand colored with a sensitive and delicate touch. Mary Anne Meÿer was an accomplished artist who created many of the original drawings, while her husband, a professional lithographer, drew the plates on the stones. Born in Amsterdam, Meÿer came to England in 1806, married Mary Anne Moor in 1830, and set up house in Surrey, where Meÿer pursued his twin passions as an artist and a naturalist. Accordingly, the illustrations here are educational and scientific, but Meÿer also imbues these ornithological subjects, from delicate to magnificent, with personality and life. Some of the birds are shown in isolation, perhaps perching on a branch, or flying in the clouds; but many are situated in a more detailed natural habitat, giving important context and adding to the artistic sensibility of these images. All of the images are convincingly life-like. This is not a terribly rare book, but a copy like the present one--especially well-preserved, with bright, beautiful plates and handsomely bound--is not so easy to find.
(ST15767)

Keywords: Ornithology

Add to Cart Price: $3,900.00

PJP Catalog: 76.165

COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS. ORNITHOLOGY, HENRY LEONARD MEŸER, COLOR PLATE BOOKS.
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.
COLOURED ILLUSTRATIONS OF BRITISH BIRDS, AND THEIR EGGS.

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