GOULD, John (1804-1881). A Monograph of the Trogonidae, or Family of Trogons. London: Richard & John E. Taylor for the Author, [April] 1835-[March] 1838.
3 parts, as issued, large 2° (562 x 382mm). One page, list of subscribers. 36 fine hand-coloured lithographic plates, 1 folding, by John and Elizabeth Gould (assisted by Edward Lear), printed by Charles Hullmandel, most heightened with gum arabic, some heightened with gilt. (Neat repair to fold of folding plate, light creasing to folding plate and final text leaf in part I, occasional very light spotting.) Publisher's cloth-backed paper-covered boards, lithographic title on upper covers with part number and price added in manuscript, part III with date altered in manuscript, all contained within a single green cloth portfolio, the portfolio within a green morocco-backed cloth slipcase, lettered in gilt on the 'spine'.
A VERY FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF GOULD'S SECOND GREAT MONOGRAPH, HERE IN THE VERY RARE ORIGINAL PARTS. No copies of the first edition in parts are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years. Gould illustrated 34 species in this edition, 12 of which were new to science. However, he was under no illusions that the listing could be considered in any way complete: "It would be presumptuous of me to say that this monograph is fully completed, or that I have figured every existing species: on the contrary, I have reason to believe that many will yet be discovered, both in the Old and the New World" (Preface). "The trogons are birds of moderate size: the smallest is hardly bigger than a thrush and the largest less bulky than a crow... Their feet are weak and of a unique structure, the second toe... being reverted, and thus the trogons stand alone, since in all other birds that have two toes before and two behind it is the outer toe that is turned backward. The plumage is very remarkable and characteristic. There is not a species which has not beauty beyond most birds, and the glory of the group culminates in the quezal [sic.]" (Alfred Newton). Anker 171; BM(NH) II,p. 701; Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 101; Nissen IVB 381; Sauer 4; Zimmer p. 253. (3)