AUDUBON, John James (1780-1851) John Bachman (1790-1874). The Quadrupeds of North America. New York: V.G. Audubon, 1849-1854.
31 ORIGINAL PARTS, 8o (268 x 182 mm). 155 hand-colored lithographed plates by W.E. Hitchcock and R. Trembly after J.J. and John Wodehouse Audubon (plate 9 loose in no. 2, a few occasional foxmarks or small stains). Vol. 1 title and half-title bound at front of no. 1, vol. 2 title at end of no. 20 and vol. 3 title and half-title at end of no. 31. No. 19 with part number changed in ink manuscript. Indexes in parts 1, 10 and 31. (No. 2 with pin puncture in outer margin, nos. 15 and 24 with pale stain in lower right margins throughout, occasional pale offsetting from plates on to text.) ORIGINAL PRINTED WRAPPERS (a few chips to fore-edges, a few stains, heaviest on no. 7, spines chipped and with losses); cloth folding case. Provenance: D.S. Valentine (penciled name on front wrapper of no. 10, ink on no. 12).
FIRST OCTAVO EDITION, IN THE ORIGINAL WRAPPERS. 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 written 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.
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; Sabin 2638. A FINE, SCARCE, SET IT THE ORIGINAL PARTS.