BROWN, Captain Thomas (1785-1862). Illustrations of the Game Birds of North America Chiefly the size of Nature. Edinburgh: Frazer & Co.; Dublin: William Curry Jnr. & Co.; Glasgow: John Smith & Son; London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1834 [title watermarked 1834, plates watermarked 1831-1835]. Royal 2° (546 x 410mm). Engraved title by James Turvey, engraved dedication, 16 finely hand-coloured engraved plates of birds after Thomas Brown, A. Rider, J.B. Kidd and others, engraved by W.H. Lizars (5), Samuel Milne (4), R. Scott (2), Wm. Davie (1), John Miller (1), James Johnstone (1), Wm. Warwick (1) and J.B. Kidd (1), all with uncoloured backgrounds, the final plate with engraved number "CII" in the upper right corner of the plate area. (Each leaf expertly reinforced on the verso by tissue, title and 12 plates with small expertly repaired tears to blank margins, slight spotting to the third plate.) Contemporary brown cloth with embossed pattern of stylised flowering foliage, blue/green morocco title label on upper cover, bordered and lettered in gilt "Game Birds of North America" (neatly rebacked and re-cornered, resewn with later endpapers), modern purple cloth box, morocco title label to upper cover. Provenance: Rev. Henry Baker Tristram (armorial bookplate, offered in R.H. Porter's catalogue of the Library for 3gns.); Samuel Gardner (armorial bookplate).
VERY RARE: THE BLACK TULIP OF AMERICAN GAME BOOKS: Walter Faxon was able to find only three copies of this work in 1919, and only one copy (with only 15 plates) is listed as having sold at auction in the last one hundred years (Sotheby's 10 December 1909, lot 951). Illustrations of the Game Birds is essentially a selection of the plates from Brown's Illustrations of the American Ornithology of ... Wilson and ... Bonaparte (Edinburgh, etc.: 1831-1835). Like the copy described by Faxon, the hand-colouring in the present example is limited to the birds - the plates in the larger work (and in the Ellis and Zimmer copies of the present work) have hand-coloured backgrounds and botanical details. Ellis 391; W. Faxon The Auk 36, 1919, p.626; Nissen IVB, 153; cf. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.82; Zimmer p.102.