Alexandre Bourjot Saint-Hilaire (1801-1886)
Histoire Naturelle des Perroquets, troisième volume (supplémentaire), pour faire suite aux deux volumes de Levaillant, contenant les espèces laissées inédites par cet auteur ou récemment découvertes. Paris and Strasbourg: F.G.Levrault, [1835-]1837-1838[-1839]. Imperial 2° (513 x 318mm). Half-title. 111 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Benard after J.C.Werner. (Some leaves browning, neat marginal repairs to nine plates, the 20th plate loosely inserted, light marginal dampstaining.) 19th-century morocco gilt, covers panelled in gilt with fillets and decorative rolls, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with repeat decoration in gilt composed of various small tools, g.e., by Riviere (lightly stained, some scuffing to extremities, small neat repair to joint of lower cover). Provenance: John Wingfield Larking (armorial bookplate); "Sandpiper Hill" library (bookplate).
A LARGE-PAPER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF ONE OF THE RAREST WORKS ON PARROTS, AND A WORTHY COMPANION TO LEVAILLANT. The work was issued in 29 livraisons as a supplement to Levaillant's Histoire naturelle des perroquets (1801-1805, see lot 133), and was published in both imperial folio and 4to formats. It is considered as a separate work and includes many of the species discovered in the 30 years that had elapsed since Levaillant had completed his work. Only two copies of this large-paper issue are recorded as having sold at auction in the past 25 years: the Bradley Martin copy in 1989 and the Jeanson copy in 1988. The plates in the large-paper copies display superior colouring and are unnumbered, and, although the table of plates refers to 116 plates, 5 of these [nos. 8, 12, 35ter, 57bis and 72ter] were never issued (according to Anker). A further 'supplement' (Iconographie des Perroquets) was issued by C. de Souancé in 1857-8.
Bourjot Saint-Hilaire, a professor of natural history and anatomy, adopted the surname of Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire on his marriage to the latter's only daughter. The text, in French and Latin, describes each species and gives synonyms and information about geographical distribution. The plates are by J.C.Werner, an artist attached to the French museum of natural history. He appears to have been content to follow the form for depicting the specimens adopted by Barraband in Levaillant's work, with one exception: the extraordinary brooding portrait of the white cockatoo, against an almost black stormy sky, the bird lit by the unseen sun momentarily breaking through the clouds. Anker 55a; Ellis/Mengel 353; Fine Bird Books p.61; Nissen IVB 126; Ronsil 352; Wood p.252; Zimmer p.84.