14 November 2007
GOULD, John (1804-1881). The Birds of Europe. London: Richard and John E. Taylor for the Author, -1837.
5 volumes, large 2° (542 x 365 mm). 448 fine hand-colored lithographic plates, 68 by Edward Lear, the rest by Elizabeth Gould after her husband's sketches, printed by Charles Hullmandel. (Occasional spotting, some offsetting, repaired tear to plate 68, minor tears.) Contemporary green morocco, covers with elaborate ruled floral gilt borders, spine and edges gilt (slightly rubbed, scuffed at edges).
FIRST EDITION of Gould's first multi-volume ornithological work, the second of the folio series. As explicitly stated in the preface, the purpose of Gould's second work was to "supply the deficiency" of studies of local ornithology. The drawings of continental species were taken from specimens in museums and zoos in Holland, Germany and Switzerland, which Gould had toured several times in the 1830's, at least once with Lear, who was the first and greatest of the fine series of artists that he was to employ over the ensuing half century. Lear's influence is evident in many of the plates. His understanding of the possibilities that lithography offered and his mastery of the techniques involved contributed much to the founding of Gould's reputation. "There is no doubt that Edward Lear was the first person to understand the art of lithography, and to use it to its fullest potential. It was a legacy that granted the fabled works of Gould their success, and took them into the forefront of nineteenth-century illustration". (Isabella Tree, The Ruling Passion of John Gould, p. 43). Anker 169; Fine Bird Books p. 77; Nissen IVB 371; Wood p. 364; Zimmer pp. 251-252. (5)
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