The Quadrupeds of North America, in original parts
The Quadrupeds of North America, in original parts

AUDUBON, 1849-1854

Details
The Quadrupeds of North America, in original parts
Audubon, 1849-1854
AUDUBON, John James (1780-1851) and BACHMAN, John (1790-1874). The Quadrupeds of North America. New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849-1854.

First octavo edition, in the original wrappers. The Quadrupeds of North America was the result of Audubon's collaboration with John Bachman, a Lutheran Pastor who had studied quadrupeds from his youth and who was recognised as an authority in the United States. The two began their association when Audubon stayed with Bachman and his family in Charleston for a month in 1831. Audubon knew that Bachman's contribution was critical but had to fight hard to convince his friend to take part. Bachman eventually relented, with the proviso that all profits, and expenses, were to be the Audubons': the work was expected to show a healthy return and he was eager to benefit his sons-in-law Victor and John Woodhouse Audubon.

The Quadrupeds was first published in three folio volumes between 1845 and 1848, with 150 colored plates, supplemented in 1854 with an additional volume of text and 6 plates. The first octavo edition, issued in response to the success of a similar edition of The Birds of America, contains all of the original 150 plates, with 5 of the 6 supplemental plates, reduced by means of the camera lucida. Initially both the folio and octavo editions were issued in parts. With the publication of the final part in 1854 the quartet of works as envisaged by Audubon was completed.

The Prospectus, printed on the back wrappers, states that "The present will be a miniature copy of the large edition, with figures and descriptions of the Quadrupeds of the United States, (including Texas, California, and Oregon), part of Mexico, the British and Russian Possessions and Arctic regions of our continent. Each number will contain five plates, lithographed in a superior style and carefully coloured from the original drawings. The numbers will be delivered to subscribers at intervals of not less than one month, and the work will be completed in thirty numbers." Bennett, p.5; Nissen ZBI 163; Stamped with a National Character 8; Sabin 2638.

31 original parts, octavo (270 x 185mm). 155 hand-colored plates. Original wrappers (a little chipping to backstrips, but overall very good; rear wrapper of part 1 detached and upper cover and title page faintly soiled; binding of part 20 a bit loose with one plate detached; front wrapper detached on part 21; part 31 with rear wrapper starting to detach and some soiling to front cover affecting first plate). Housed in three half morocco slipcases, with chemises. Provenance: Kenneth E. Hill (bookplate).

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