LEWIN, William (1747-1795). The Birds of Great Britain, systematically arranged, accurately engraved, and painted from nature; with descriptions including the natural history of each bird. London: for J. Johnson, 1795-1801 [but c. 1812].
8 volumes in 4, 4 (281 x 224mm). Parallel text in English and French, 336 hand-coloured etched plates by and after Lewin and his sons, tissue guards. (Plates 84-94 with a yellow crayon trace at outer margin, plate 130 with pencil trace, plate 167 a little soiled, a few plates and text leaves slightly creased.) Contemporary half russia and mottled boards (two spines chipped at head, corners bumped and rubbed).
LARGE PAPER RE-ISSUE of the second edition. Lewin has been described as the Dr. Johnson of British ornithology, his Birds of Great Britain being an achievment no less monumental than Johnson's Dictionary in its own field. The first edition of this work was limited to 60 or 66 copies and entirely illustrated by original watercolours. Even as he was still painting birds for his first edition, Lewin was preparing the etched copper plates for the second, a number of the plates being dated as early as 1793. Plates by his sons started to appear halfway through volume IV, which was first issued in 1797 (see Jackson Etchings pp. 153-64). Anker 306; Fine Bird Books p. 91 (*); Mullens and Swann p. 351; Nissen IVB 562; Wood p. 435; Zimmer p. 395. (8)