AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851). The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and their Territories. New York: J.J. Audubon; Philadelphia: J.B. Chevalier, [1839-] 1840-1844.
7 volumes, royal 8o (259 x 166 mm). Subscribers' lists. 500 hand-colored lithographed plates after Audubon by W.E. Hitchcock, R. Trembly and others, printed and colored by J.T. Bowen, wood-engraved anatomical diagrams in text (palest intermittent offsetting, some very pale marginal discoloration to last few plates in vol. II, plates 293 and 310 shaved at head as often). (Without half-titles, small loss at corner of title in vol. II, repaired tear to contents leaf in vol. III, small internal tear to contents leaf in vol. IV, generally fine). Original black hard-grained morocco gilt, spines gilt-lettered and ruled, by P. Low, Boston, with their tickets (some wear and scuffing to vol. I, others generally fine, some light wear at extremities).
A VERY CLEAN COPY OF THE FIRST OCTAVO EDITION of John James Audubon's masterpiece, a fine, tall copy with colors very clean and fresh. Audubon created 65 new images for the octavo edition, supplementing the original 435 of the double-elephant folio edition of 1827-38. The resulting series of 500 plates constitute the most extensive American color-plate book produced up to that time. The Philadelphia printer J.T. Bowen reduced the double-elephant plates by camera lucida and the resulting lithographs show significant changes in the backgrounds and compositions. The original configurations were altered so that only one species is depicted per plate. The text is a revision of the Ornithological Biography, rearranged according to Audubon's "A Synopsis of the Birds of North America" (1839). Ayer/Zimmer, p.22; Bennett, p.5; McGill/Wood, p.208; Nissen IVB 51; Reese 34; Sabin 2364. A VERY FINE SET, WITH FRESH, BRIGHT IMPRESSIONS OF THE PLATES.