13 June 2002
GOULD, John (1804-1881). A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Humming-Birds. London: Taylor and Francis for the Author, -1861.
5 volumes (lacking the Supplement), large 2° (540 x 367mm). 3pp. subscribers' list. 360 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates, many highlighted in gold leaf overpainted with transparent varnish and oil colours, by Gould, Henry Constantine Richter and William Hart, printed by Hullmandel and Walton, Walter and the Mintern Brothers. (Titles and a few text leaves spotted, the 62nd plate in vol.V with very slight old crease.) Contemporary hard-grained green morocco gilt, covers with wide decorative border tooled in gilt and blind with fillets and various roll-tools including two Greek-key rolls, spines in seven compartments with double raised bands, lettered in the second and third, others with repeat pattern in gilt of rococo cornerpieces surrounding a shaped central oval built up from various small tools, gilt turn-ins, yellow-glazed endpapers, gilt edges (spines very slightly faded).
A VERY FINE SUBSCRIBER'S COPY OF GOULD'S MASTERPIECE, but without the supplement published much later in 1880 and 1887. 'An incomparable catalogue and compendium of beauties' (Fine Bird Books p. 29). Most of the subjects came from Gould's own collection of humming-bird specimens, a number of which he exhibited at the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens during the Great Exhibition of 1851, a few of which still survive at the Natural History Museum. The plates gave Gould the chance to display this new technique of his imitating the birds' iridescent plumage by the use of brilliant metallic colouring. Sauer 16; Anker 177; Fine Bird Books p. 78; Nissen IVB 380; Wood p. 365; Zimmer pp. 258 & 263-64.
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