George Edwards (1694-1773)
A Natural History of Uncommon birds, and of some other rare and undescribed Animals, Quadrupeds, Reptiles, Fishes, Insects, &c. London: for the Author, [1739-]1743-1751. 4 volumes. Subscribers' lists, general title in vol.I with engraved vignette. Hand-coloured etched frontispiece to vol.I, 211 etched plates comprising 210 hand-coloured and one uncoloured 'Samoyed' plate. [Uniformly bound with:] Gleanings of Natural History, exhibiting figures of Quadrupeds, Birds, Insects, Plants, &c. London: for the Author, [1758-]1760-1764. 3 volumes. Parallel titles and text in English and French. Engraved portrait of the author by J.S. Miller after B. Dandridge, engraved title vignette and tail-piece, 152 hand-coloured etched counter-proof plates (most plates in the second and third volume neatly numbered in contemporary manuscript hand). The 2 works in seven volumes, 4° (296 x 235mm). Contemporary uniform reversed calf, covers panelled in blind, spine in seven sections with raised bands, red morocco lettering-piece in the second, blue morocco in the third (vol.I of the second work rebacked to match), contained within two modern cloth solander boxes.
FIRST EDITION FIRST ISSUE IN FINE CONDITION, IN A FINE CONTEMPORARY BINDING. "At its date of issue, the Natural History and Gleanings was one of the most important of all Bird Books, both as a fine bird book and as a work of ornithology. It is still high on each list. (Fine Bird Books). "George Edwards was born at Stratford, Essex, and received his early education at a public school at Leytonstone, later being apprenticed to a tradesman in London. Having access to a large library of scientific books, Edwards studied these assiduously and, having made up his mind not to enter business, decided to travel abroad. Between 1716 and 1733 he visited many foreign countries but in December of the latter year settled down in London and, through the influence of Sir Hans Sloane, was chosen Librarian to the Royal College of Physicians... Almost immediately after he was appointed... Edwards commenced the preparation of a series of coloured drawings of animals and birds, used later to illustrate [the present work]; for these he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society and subsequently elected a fellow." (Lisney p.127). Anker 124-126; 1 p.195; Nissen IVB 286-288; Zimmer pp.192-198. (7)