[George Ernest Shelley (1840-1910)]
[A Monograph of the Nectariniidae, or Family of Sun-Birds. London: Taylor & Francis for the author, 1876-1880]. 2° (378 x 264mm). Without title or text. 121 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates by J.G.Keulemans, printed by M. & N. Hanhart, coloured by W. Hart. Contemporary red half morocco gilt, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second, the others with simple repeat decoration in gilt, g.e. Provenance: Hanbury Barclay (armorial bookplate).
A VERY RARE LARGE-PAPER SET OF THESE "EXCELLENT, HAND-COLOURED PLATES" (Zimmer). This folio issue of the plates is not recorded in any of the standard bibliographies. It appears to have been issued for a few special recipients, since the only other large-paper copy known contained a pencilled note, apparently contemporary, indicating that it was a special copy prepared for the author on longer paper (Sotheby's, 22 October 1998, lot 215). The standard 4° edition of the work was originally published in 12 parts, limited to 250 copies, and Shelley acknowledged Keulemans's contribution in the introduction: "The illustrations, which form such an important portion of my Monograph, have all been executed by Mr.Keulemans, whose name is sufficient guarantee for the accuracy of the details and for high artistic skill. The latter is rendered perhaps more striking from his being acquainted with this family of birds in their native haunts; and his notes upon the Sun-birds inhabiting Prince's Island have been incoprorated in my work." Fine Bird Books p.142; Nissen IVB 873; Zimmer p.588: all references for the 4° edition.