PLAYFAIR, Sir Robert Lambert (1828-1899), & Albert Carl Ludwig Gotthilf GÜNTHER (1830-1914). The Fishes of Zanzibar. Acanthopterygii by... Lambert... Pharyngognathi by... Günther. London: Taylor & Francis for John van Voorst, 1866.
Large 4° (317 x 240mm). 21 fine lithographic plates by G.H. Ford or G. Smit, 6 hand-coloured, 15 uncoloured but on india paper mounted, all printed by W. West. (Occasional light staining or spotting.) Contemporary green morocco gilt, covers panelled with outer border of triple fillets, the inner panel bordered by a foliage roll flanked by fillets and dog-tooth rolls, cornerpieces of stylised flower-spray tool, gilt turn-ins, comb-marbled endpapers, g.e. (joints weak, extremities rubbed). Provenance: Sir Henry Edward Bartle Frere (1815-1884, presentation inscription from the authors 'Sir H.E. Bartle Frere from the Authors London 11.11.76.').
AN IMPORTANT PRESENTATION COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION OF THIS BEAUTIFUL AND RARE WORK. Sir Henry Bartle Frere served as the first Governor of Bombay between 1862 and 1867. In the final paragraph of the preface to the present work the authors note that 'We desire to record our thanks to the Government of Bombay for the liberal measure of assistance it has accorded to this work by taking 100 copies. This has enabled us to illustrate all the most important species, and for that end to secure the valuable services of Mr. [George Henry] Ford [1809-1876], whose ability as a zoological artist is too well known to require notice'. The work is based on the collections formed by Playfair during the 'course of a residence of many years at Aden and Zanzibar, during which he made frequent trips to the African coast and the adjacent islands' (preface). Five hundred species are described: 428 obtained from Zanzibar, with the remainder coming from Mozambique, the Seychelles, the Comoro Islands, Aden and the 'Chagos archipelago'. No copies of this work are listed as having sold at auction in the past twenty-five years but a limited edition reprint of this work, with an updated introduction, was published in California in 1971. BM(NH) IV,p.1584; Nissen ZBI 3187; Wood p.520.