GOULD, John and Richard Bowdler SHARPE (1847-1909). The Birds of Asia. London: Taylor and Francis for the author, January 1850-March 1873.
Parts 1-25 only (of 35) in 5 volumes, large 2o (549 x 376 mm). 397 (of 530) fine hand-colored lithographed plates, most heightened with gum-arabic, by Gould, Henry Constantine Richter, William Hart and Joseph Wolf, printed by Hullmandel & Walton, Walter or Walter & Cohn (some occasional minor pale spotting and light offsetting). Contemporary green half morocco, spine gilt, top edges gilt (spines and corners a bit rubbed, slightly scuffed). Provenance: Helen Gould Shepard (bookplate); Jay Gould (1836-1892), American financier (Lyndhurst bookplate).
FIRST EDITION. The intended geographical range of the work was enormous, and very much in keeping with the seemingly limitless self-belief of the 19th-century's best known ornithologist. As Sharpe writes in his excellent introduction, the work covers "Species from Palestine to the westward, and from the Moluccas to the east." Unsurprisingly, the subjects of the plates are the amongst the most varied of Gould's folios including trogons, kingfishers, sunbirds, woodpeckers, partridges, parrots, pittas and pheasants. Originally issued in 35 original parts to 207 subscribers, the three final parts were completed by Sharpe after Gould's death in 1881. The descriptions by Sharpe are identified by his initials, those not bearing his initials were presumably printed from Gould's notes. Hart completed the lithographs from Gould's sketches. Ayer/Zimmer, pp.258-9; Copenhagen/Anker 178; Fine Bird Books, p.78; Nissen IVB 368; Sauer 17; Wood, p.365. (5)