George Ernest Shelley (1840- 1910) and William Lutley Sclater (1863-1944)
The Birds of Africa, comprising all the species which occur in the Ethiopian region. London: published for the Author by R. H. Porter (Vol. I- Vol V pt. 1) and Henry Sotheran & Co (Vol. V pt. 2), 1896-1912. 5 volumes in seven, large 8° (285 x 186mm). 57 hand-coloured lithographic plates after Henrik Grönvold, largely unopened. (Light spotting to titles of three volumes.) Original red cloth, titled in gilt on spine, t.e.g (spines slightly faded). Provenance: Nora Kathleen Shelley (niece of G.E. Shelley, bookplate).
A fine copy of the first edition, with Grönvold's 'beautiful plates' (Anker), of this 'comprehensive review of the birds of Africa and surrounding islands.... Many new genera are described' (Wood p. 566). 'Grönvold's first really large task was to do the drawings for Captain George Shelley's Birds of Africa. Capt. Shelley had retired from military service in order to devote himself to the study of natural history... The plates showed several new species and genera. Each of Grönvold's plates has most carefully executed bird portraits, usually of the pair of the species, with every detail shown... As examples of ornithological draughtsmanship, with Grönvold working from skins, the plates are excellent. The fifty-seven plates... [are] painstakingly coloured by hand' (C. Jackson, Bird Illustrators, p.110). Shelley suffered a stroke in 1906, just after the publication of the penultimate volume and died in November 1910. Shelley's widow asked William Lutley Sclater (the ornithologist son of Philip Lutley Sclater) to complete the final volume, which he did using Shelley's manuscript as a basis, but adding much new information that had come to light in the intervening years. Anker 470; Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 142; Nissen IVB 874; Wood p. 566; Zimmer p. 589. (7)