7 - 8 April 2004
ELLIOT, Daniel Giraud (1835-1915). A Monograph of the Felididae or Family of Cats. [New York]: printed by Taylor & Francis, published by the author for the subscribers, [1878-]1883.
Broadsheet (602 x 495mm). 43 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates drawn on stone by Joseph Smit from drawings by Joseph Wolf, printed by M. & N. Hanhart. (Slight cockling to outer blank margin of the fourth plate, the Snow Leopard.) Contemporary purple half morocco gilt by R.H. Porter, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the other compartments with a repeat pattern composed from various small tools, marbled endpapers, t.e.g. (spine slightly faded). Provenance: Frederick Ducane Godman (1834-1919, armorial bookplate); A.J. Dearden (inscription dated 1926).
AN EXCELLENT COPY OF THE FINEST WORK ON THE CAT FAMILY WITH MAGNIFICENT HAND-COLOURED PLATES AFTER JOSEPH WOLF, FROM THE LIBRARY OF THE DISTINGUISHED NATURALIST FREDERICK DUCANE GODMAN. Originally issued in eleven 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 creature 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 up 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. This 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. BM(NH) II,p.522; Nissen ZBI 1279 (incorrect date); Wood p.332.
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