ELLIOT, Daniel Giraud (1835-1915). A Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise. [London]: by the author [printed by Taylor & Francis], [January-November] 1873.
7 original parts in one volume, large 2° (605 x 478mm). 1p. subscriber's list, small format 'To the Binder' leaf bound at end. 36 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates after Joseph Wolf by J. Smit, coloured by J.D. White, uncoloured lithographic plate on india paper mounted, of generic characteristics by and after Wolf and Smit, all printed by M. & N. Hanhart. (Expert repair to lower outer blank corner of the third coloured plate, the 18th and 27th plates with light silverfish damage to outer blank margins, eight plates spotted or slightly spotted.) 20th-century light brown morocco gilt by Sangorski & Sutcliffe (with their invoice, dated 1972, loosely inserted), covers with decorative border of fillets and flower and foliage roll-tool, spine in eight compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with a decorative border around a large central foliage tool, gilt turn-ins, original upper wrappers to parts I-VII bound at back.
A FINE COPY, INCLUDING THE VERY RARE UPPER WRAPPERS TO THE ORIGINAL PARTS, OF ELLIOT'S GREAT WORK ON THE BIRDS OF PARADISE: ONE OF THE MOST ADMIRED BIRD BOOKS EVER PRODUCED. 'The plates in this work, almost as magnificent as the birds they portray, were the fruits of Elliot's considerable wealth, Wolf's great artistry and both men's profound knowledge and love of birds' (Dance). Elliot writes of the illustrations: 'The drawings of Mr. Wolf will, I am sure, receive the admiration of those who see them; for, like all that artist's productions, they cannot be surpassed, if equalled, at the present time. Mr. J. Smit has lithographed the drawings with his usual conscientious fidelity, and in his share of the work has left me nothing to desire... In the coloring of the plates Mr. J.D. White has faithfully followed the originals; and in the difficult portions where it was necessary to produce the metallic hues, he has been very successful'. Elliot regards 'brightly coloured waving plumes' as a typical characteristic rather than an indispensable feature of this beautiful species which are presented in three sub-families, Paradiseai, containing the typical Birds of Paradise and their allies, Epimachinae, those species 'characterised by long, slender, somewhat curved bills', and Tectonarchinae, 'species that are in the habit of erecting bowers'. The work is dedicated to Alfred Russel Wallace, to whom Elliot expresses his indebtedness 'for nearly all our information regarding the habits of many species'. Anker 131; Dance, The Art of Natural History p.132; Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 95; Nissen IVB 296; Wood p. 331; Zimmer p. 207