Richard Bowdler Sharpe (1847-1909)
Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, and Ptilonorhynchidae, or Bower-birds. London: Taylor and Francis (text) and Mintern Brothers (plates) for Henry Sotheran & Co., 1891-1898. 2 volumes, large 2 (543 x 364mm). Mounted on guards throughout. Letterpress titles, preface, introduction, appendix, lists of contents and lists of plates, 79 HAND-COLOURED LITHOGRAPHIC PLATES by W. Hart after his own work and that of J. Gould and J. G. Keulemans, with later hand-colouring, occasional photographic and engraved illustrations in the text. Red morocco gilt, covers with elaborate gilt borders, spine gilt in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in two, the others with repeat pattern, g.e., by the McNamee Bindery of Cambridge (some scuffing to extremities).
FIRST AND ONLY EDITION of "the last of the fine bird books" (Fine Bird Books p. 107). Sharpe appealed for subscribers for a monograph on "the Avifauna of Paupasia" in the preface to Gould's Birds of New Guinea, which Sharpe completed, after Gould's death in 1881. The response to his appeal must have been speedy, for only three years later, the first part of the Paradiseidae was published. Some of the plates are printed from the stones used in the Birds of New Guinea, but "a great number of the species are here figured for the first time, according to Sharpe's preface. Fine Bird Books p.107; Nissen IVB 865; Zimmer pp. 581-2. (2)