19 November 2002
John Gould (1804-1881)
A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. London: for the Author, [1833-]1834[-1835]. Large 2° (543 x 364mm). 33 hand-coloured lithographic plates by and after Edward Lear (10) or John and Elizabeth Gould (23), one uncoloured plate by and after George Scharf, all printed by Charles Hullmandel. Contemporary green morocco gilt by Hering (one endpaper watermarked '1842'), covers with wide decorative gilt border elaborately tooled in gilt, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with elaborate repeat pattern in gilt, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges (very light scuffing to extremites).
A FINE COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF GOULD'S FIRST MONOGRAPH. The uncoloured plate accompanies Richard Owen's text on the anatomy of the toucan, written especially for the work. The toucan family is limited to Mexico, Central and South America and some West Indian islands. 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 Aldrovandus's corrupted form of the latter (Ramphastos) was adopted by Linnaeus. Lear's toucans with their enormous bills and absurdly gleeful expressions are regarded as among the best of his zoological drawings. Gould went on to publish a second enlarged edition of this work in 1852-1854, which he liked to describe as a separate work because of the number of new species described, and because he used the second edition as an opportunity to propose a new division of the group into six genera rather than the two in the present work. Lear's work was used for the second edition but was not credited, and his name was obliterated from the plates, and substituted by the names of Gould & Richter (see Peter Levi, Edward Lear, 1995, pp. 40-41). Anker 170; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.77; Nissen IVB 378; Sauer 9; Zimmer p.252.
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Property of the late Lord Wraxall
Removed from Tyntesfield, Somerset
Offered by Order of the Executors
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