WILSON, James (1795-1856). Illustrations of Zoology, being Representations of new, rare, or remarkable Subjects of the Animal Kingdom, drawn and coloured after nature, with historical and descriptive details. Edinburgh & London: William Blackwood of Edinburgh and Thomas Cadell of London, [1827-]1831.
2o (392 x 298 mm). 36 FINE HAND-COLORED PLATES, 34 engraved by W.H. Lizars, 2 lithographed by [?]G. Graves, after Wilson, Lizars, A. Mosses, Patrick Syme and others. 19th-century half morocco (joints starting, some rubbing). Provenance: Castlecraig Library (label with the motto "Fax Mentis Honestae Gloria"); Colonel John Eliot Thayer (1862-1933), American ornithologist (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. A beautifully illustrated work. The plates were based on the natural history collections of the Museum of Edinburgh University. The work did not get beyond the nine parts that make up the present volume, and was apparently issued between 1827 and 1831. The apparently chaotic order of both the plates and text is in fact following the systematic order laid out in the "Table of Contents" and explained in detail on "Directions to the Binder" leaf - the random numbering of the plates and signatures of the text actually reflect the order in which they were issued. The work includes 11 plates of mammals (3 monkeys, one bear, one wolf, 3 cats, one marsupial, one rodent and one whale), 20 plates of birds (including a fine portrait of a Great Auk), 2 fish, one shell and 2 butterflies. The two lithographs are numbered XXV ("The Ternate King Fisher") and XXVIII ("The Jasius Butterfly"). BM(NH) V,p.2333; Nissen IVB 999; Yale/Ripley 313.