7 - 8 April 2004
LESSON, René Primevère (1794-1849). Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux de Paradis et des Épimaques. Paris: Fain for Arthus Bertrand, [1834-1835].
4° (303 x 235mm). Half-title. 43 hand-coloured engraved plates by Massard, Oudet and others after Paul Louis Oudart and Jean Gabriel Prêtre. (Title and some text leaves spotted, plates lightly browned, plate 35 with neatly repaired tear to outer blank margin, lower blank margin of plate 36 lightly soiled.) 19th-century marbled paper-backed calf (expertly rebacked to style).
RARE LARGE-PAPER COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS "CLASSIC MONOGRAPH ON THE BIRDS OF PARADISE" (Wood). The work was published in parts in at least three states: octavo with coloured plates; octavo with the plates in coloured and uncoloured states; and the present state. Less ostentatious than some of his contemporaries' work, Lesson's monograph benefits from showing the subjects in their natural poses and being based on the author's personal observations of the birds in their natural habitat. Lesson described four new species, three of which he captured in New Guinea. Anker 296; BM(NH) III, p.1096; Brunet III, 1017; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.117; Nissen IVB 550; Ronsil p.291.
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