Daniel Giraud Elliot (1835-1915)
A Monograph of the Felidae or Family of the Cats. [London]: printed by Taylor & Francis, published by the author for the subscribers, [1878 -]1883. Large 2° (598 x 475mm). 43 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates from drawings by Joseph Wolf, lithographed by J. Smit, printed by M. & N. Hanhart. Contemporary red morocco gilt by Zaehnsdorf, covers with wide decorative border built up from fillets and various decorative roll tools, elaborate corner-pieces made up from fleurons and other small tools, spine in six sections with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with repeat symmetrical decoration of massed small tools, g.e.
A VERY FINE COPY OF THE FINEST WORK ON THE FELIDAE, WITH MAGNIFICENT HAND-COLOURED PLATES AFTER JOSEPH WOLF. Originally issued in 11 parts, the monograph describes and figures all the species of cat then known. As Elliot writes in the preface "Among the Families which constitute the Class Mammalia no more attractive one can be found than that of Felidae, as its members possess in the highest degree a beauty, both of form and colouring, most gratifying to the eye, and are also endowed with physical strength and weapons of offence not surpassed… by any known creatures now living upon the earth. The Family comprises not only the largest and most ferocious of the beasts of prey, but also the graceful little animal that delights to make its home within man's abode". The work was prompted by the need to resolve the confusion that had built around the naming of the various species of Felidae, particularly amongst the smaller cats. The examples shown here were collected by Elliot after visiting all the great museums and zoological societies on both sides of the Atlantic which allowed him to make a comparative study of skeletons and skins and reduce the number of separate species by nearly a third. The resulting work was considered the definitive monograph on the cat family and is still the most beautiful work on the subject forming a fitting companion to Elliot's sumptuous ornithological folios. Nissen ZBI 1279; Wood p. 332.