7 - 8 April 2004
LEAR, Edward (1812-88) and James De Carle SOWERBY (1787-1871). Tortoises, Terrapins, and Turtles drawn from life. Text by John Edward Gray. London, Paris and Frankfurt: Taylor & Francis for Henry Sotheran and Joseph Baer & Co., 1872.
2° (377 x 280mm). 60 lithographic plates, 57 hand-coloured, all drawn on stone by Edward Lear after J.D.C. Sowerby. (Gutta-percha of binding perished resulting in some loose leaves, occasional spotting.) Original brown morocco-backed pebble-grained cloth, titled in gilt on spine, t.e.g. (very slight scuffing to extremities). Provenance: 'ALJ (monogrammed bookplate); H.L. Babcock (bookplate).
A FINE UNSOPHISTICATED COPY OF THE FIRST COMPLETE EDITION OF THESE LITHOGRAPHS BY EDWARD LEAR. The plates had been prepared by Lear from Sowerby's drawings for Thomas Bell's Monograph of the Testudinata, published in parts from 1836 to 1842. The work was never completed and only 40 plates were published. The 'unsold stock and unpublished plates were purchased at Mr. Highley's sale by Mr. Sotheran' (Introduction). Sotheran's decided to issue the complete set of plates and J.E. Gray (1800-1875) of the British Museum undertook to update the text. The present work is the result. The introduction mentions that the original run of the plates were coloured by one of the great colourists Mr. Bayfield (he had also worked on Lear's plates for Gray's Gleanings from the Menagerie and Aviary at Knowsley Hall. Knowsley: 1846.), but it is not clear if the present plates are from this original run, or coloured by Sotheran's for this issue. BM(NH) V,p.1984; Nissen ZBI 1701; Wood 1872.
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