JOHN GOULD (1804-1881)
A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans. London: Taylor and Francis for the Author, -1854. Large 2° (553 x 368mm). Binder's instruction slip bound at back. 51 lithographic plates coloured in a later hand after Gould and Henry Constantine Richter, and 1 uncoloured lithographic plate by G.Scharf, printed by Hullmandel & Walton, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH THE 33 HAND-COLOURED LITHOGRAPHIC PLATES FROM THE FIRST EDITION, 8 BY EDWARD LEAR, the others by John and Elizabeth Gould, all printed by Charles Hullmandel, bound at the back. Contemporary green morocco gilt, g.e. (neatly rebacked, and repaired by Bernard Middleton).
A fine copy of the second, revised and expanded edition of Gould's first monograph, extra-illustrated with the plates from the first edition of 1833-5. Gould regarded the second edition as a new work, both in terms of the number of new species he describes and because, as result of these 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 its beak in his L'Histoire de la nature des oyseaux (Paris: 1555, p.184). Andre 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' corrupted form of the latter (Ramphastos) which is how the family was still recognised at the time of the publication of the above work. Gould's work represents the first concerted attempt to produce a monograph on the family. Anker 170; Fine Bird Books p.77; Nissen IVB 378; Sauer 19; Zimmer p.259.