John Gould (1804-1881)
A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. London: Taylor and Francis for the Author, -1854. Large 2° (546 x 370mm). 51 hand-coloured lithographic plates after Gould and Henry Constantine Richter, and 1 uncoloured lithographic plate by G.Scharf, printed by Hullmandel & Walton. (Occasional very light spotting.) Contemporary green morocco gilt, covers with wide decorative border built up from various fillets and roll-tools, spine in six compartments with double-raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with repeat decoration in gilt, g.e. (some scuffing to extremities, small chip to head of spine, spine slightly discoloured).
A FINE COPY OF THE SECOND, REVISED AND EXPANDED EDITION OF GOULD'S FIRST GREAT MONOGRAPH: the first concerted attempt to picture and describe the Toucan family. Gould regarded the second edition as a new work, both in terms of the number of new species he describes and because as a result of these new discoveries, he proposes a new division of the group into six genera rather than the original two. The uncoloured plate accompanies Richard Owen's text on the anatomy of the toucan, which was written especially for this monograph. The Toucan family is limited to Mexico, Central and South America and some West Indian islands. The first time any member of the family was described was by Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes in his De la natural hystoria de las Indias (Toledo, 1526, chapter 42), in 1555 Pierre Belon included an illustration of a beak in his L'Histoire de la nature des oyseaux (Paris: 1555, p.184). Andr©e Thevet first used the name 'Toucan' with a long description, and a woodcut of the whole bird, in his Singularitez de la France (Paris: 1555, pp.88-90). The latin name Burhynchus or Ramphestes (in reference to the size of the beak) was suggested by Conrad Gesner (Icones Avium, 1560, p.130), and Linnaeus adopted Aldrovandus's corrupted form of the latter (Ramphastos), which is how the family was still recognised at the time of the publication of the above work. Anker 170; Fine Bird Books p.77; Nissen IVB 378; Sauer 19; Zimmer p.259.