EDWARDS, George (1694-1773). A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, and of Some Other Rare and Undescribed Animals. London: the author, 1743-1747. 2 volumes only (of 4). Hand-coloured etched frontispiece, 105 hand-coloured etched plates only (of 210), and one etched plate of the 'Samoyed' in duplicate, by and after Edwards, the plates numbered in a contemporary hand, English and French general titles with engraved vignettes by Johann Sebastian Miller and letterpress part-titles, text in English and French, translated by David Durand. Woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials.
G. EDWARDS. Gleanings of Natural History, Exhibiting Figures of Quadrupeds, Birds, Insects, Plants, &c. London: the author, 1758-1760. 2 volumes only (of 3). Etched portrait frontispiece by J.S. M,ller after Bartholomew Dandridge and 100 hand-coloured etched plates only (of 152), by and after Edwards et al., the plates numbered in a contemporary hand. English and French general title with engraved vignette by J. S. Miller and letterpress part-titles, text in English and French in double columns, translated by J. du Plessis and Edmond Barker. Woodcut head- and tailpieces and engraved tailpiece on final page of vol. I.
Together 4 volumes., 4° (290 x 226mm). (Some variable spotting and offsetting.) Uniformly bound in contemporary calf gilt, boards with simple border of a single floral roll, spines gilt in compartments, gilt morocco lettering-pieces in 2, others decorated with floral tools (worn with two upper boards detached, spines and joints heavily rubbed, three lettering pieces missing). Provenance: Barons Willoughby de Broke (contemporary and 19th century engraved armorial bookplates to endpapers).
FIRST EDITION, FIRST ISSUE SET OF THE ENGLISH AND FRENCH TEXTS OF ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY NATURAL HISTORY WORKS. 'At its date of issue, the Natural History and Gleanings was one of the most important of all Bird Books, both as a Fine Bird Book and a work of Ornithology. It is still high on each list' (Fine Bird Books). 'Through the influence of Sir Hans Sloane, [Edwards] was chosen Librarian to the Royal College of Physicians ... Almost immediately after he was appointed ... Edwards commenced the preparation of a series of coloured drawings of animals and birds, used later to illustrate [the present work]; for these he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society and subsequently elected a Fellow' (Lisney p.127). Anker 124-126; Fine Bird Books p.93; Lisney 188, 192-193, 197-198, 200-201, 203, 205, 208, and 211; Mullens and Swann pp. 195-196; Nissen IVB 286-289; Zimmer pp.192-194 and 196-199. (4) (4)