13 June 2002
GOULD, John (1804-1881) & Nicholas Aylward VIGORS (1787-1840). A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains. London: [for the
Large 2° (529 x 360mm). 2pp. subscribers' list. 80 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Elizabeth Gould after sketches by John Gould, printed by Charles Hullmandel. (Slight spotting to about 14 plates, mild discolouration to the 22nd plate, light old crease to the 45th plate, occasional light spotting to text.) Contemporary green morocco gilt by J. Wright, covers with wide decorative border elaborately tooled in gilt and blind with fillets and various stylised flower and foliage roll tools, spine in seven compartments with raised bands, brown morocco lettering-piece in the second, the others with repeat decoration of massed small tools in gilt, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges.
A FINE COPY OF GOULD'S FIRST WORK, The first issue with the backgrounds uncoloured. In 1825 Gould had moved to London to pursue his career as a taxidermist, and in 1827, shortly after the foundation of the Zoological Society of London, he was appointed 'Curator [of Birds] and Preserver' at the Society's museum in Bruton Street. The present work came about as a result of this appointment: whilst working on a collection of bird specimens sent in from the Himalayas, Gould realised that they formed the first collection of any size from the area to reach Europe and that there would be a ready market for a large format work which included accurate descriptive text and plates. He persuaded his friend and mentor, N.A. Vigors, Secretary of the Zoological Society, to provide the text. For the plates he appears to have taken the contemporary or near-contemporary large format French works as his models. Working from her husband's sketches, Elizabeth Gould produced the plates using the relatively new technique of lithography. The work was enough of a financial success to persuade Gould to remain in a field which he was to dominate for the next fifty years. Sauer 1; Anker 168; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.101; Nissen IVB 374; Wood p.364; Zimmer p.251.
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