AUDUBON, John James and John BACHMAN. The Quadrupeds of North America. New York: V.G. Audubon, 1851-1854.
3 volumes, large 8o (262 x 178 mm). 155 hand-colored lithographed plates by W.E. Hitchcock and R. Trembly after J.J. and John Wodehouse Audubon. (Lacks half-title to vol. 2, some occasional spotting and marginal dampstaining not affecting the images.) Contemporary half blue calf, gilt.
FIRST OCTAVO EDITION OF AUDUBON'S FINAL GREAT WORK. The work 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. It was prepared for the press and published by his sons, John W. and Victor, shortly after Audubon's death in January, 1851. Audubon, himself, because of declining health, was only able to sketch about half of the animals included in the final publication--the remainder being drawn by John W., with most of the scientific details in the text witten by Bachman. 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. Bennett, p.5; Nissen ZBI 163; Sabin 2638. (3)