HAVELL Junior, Robert (1793-1878). A Collection of the Birds of Paradise. Engraved & Published by R. Havell. [London:] R.Havell, 77 Oxford Street, [no date but circa 1835].
2° (458 x 308mm). Engraved and mounted on guards throughout. Engraved title, printed in colours and finished by hand, 22 fine engraved and aquatint plates by Havell after Jacques Barraband, two printed in at least two colours, all hand-coloured or finished by hand, two with gilt highlights, extra-illustrated with a tipped in autograph note from Robert Havell's son concerning the provenance. (Title slightly browned and soiled, occasional small tears to blank margins.) Modern brown morocco by Sangorski & Sutcliffe, covers with single fillet border, spine in three unequal compartments with raised bands, lettered in gilt in the second, gilt turn-ins, modern oatmeal-coloured cloth box, brown morocco label to spine. Provenance: Robert Havell, junior (by descent to his son:); A.J. Havell (tipped-in manuscript note, dated 1880, noting the sale of the work to:); F.R. Ryer; Sotheby's (sale 10 March 1948 lot 661, sold for £350[?] to Francis Edwards).
HAVELL'S OWN COPY OF THIS VERY RARE WORK: the inserted note reads 'Mr. F.R. Ryer The copy of R. Havell's "Birds of Paradise" purchased by you, was my fathers copy, they having been selected for his own use. A.J. Havell Tarrytown N Y July 14th 1880': Robert Havell jnr. had died about 20 months earlier, on 11 November 1878 in Tarrytown. Prior to the Bradley Martin copy (lot 120, 7 June 1989 $15,000), the last copy of this work to be sold at auction appears to have been in November 1956. The plates are reduced copies of the images published in François Levaillant's Histoire naturelle des oiseaux de paradis... (Paris: 1806-1818), and ably demonstrate why Havell was chosen by Audubon to engrave the plates for the double-elephant folio edition of his Birds of America. Nissen notes that the work was published by Bohn, but both the Yale and Bradley Martin copies have imprints which are identical to the present example. Given Bohn's well-deserved reputation for rescuing and re-issuing earlier works, it may well be that the example examined by Nissen should be classed as a second issue. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.105 ('very rare'); cf. Nissen IVB 417; Wood 380; Yale Ripley 126.