14 November 2007
GOULD, John (1804-1881) and Nicholas Aylward VIGORS (1787-1840). A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains. London: [for the Author, 1831]-1832.
Large 2° (530 x 368mm). 80 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Elizabeth Gould after sketches by John Gould, printed by Charles Hullmandel. (Very light localised spotting to a few plates, small repaired tear to one plate.) Contemporary olive half morocco, spine ornately gilt in compartments, gilt edges (some rubbing, hinges slightly cracked). Provenance: Duke of Manchester (armorial stamp).
A FINE SUBSCRIBER'S COPY OF GOULD'S FIRST WORK, first issue with the backgrounds uncoloured. By 1825 Gould had moved to London to pursue his career as a taxidermist. In 1827, shortly after the foundation of the Zoological Society of London, he was appointed 'Curator [of Birds] and Preserver' at the Society's museum in Bruton Street. The present work came about as a result of this appointment: whilst working on a collection of bird specimens from the Himalayas in the British Museum Gould realised that they formed the first collection of any size from the area to reach Europe and that there would be a ready market for a large format work which included accurate descriptive text and plates. He persuaded his friend and mentor, N.A. Vigors, Secretary of the Zoological Society, to provide the text. For the plates he appears to have taken the contemporary or near-contemporary large-format French works as his models. Working from her husband's sketches, Elizabeth Gould produced the plates using the relatively new technique of lithography. The work was enough of a financial success to persuade Gould to remain in a field which he was to dominate for the next fifty years. Sauer 1; Anker 168; Fine Bird Books p.101; Nissen IVB 374; Wood p. 364; Zimmer p. 251.
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