SCHLEGEL, Hermann (1804-1884) and Abraham Henrik VERSTER VAN WULVERHORST (1796-1882). Traité de Fauconnerie. Leiden and Düsseldorf: Arnz & Comp., "1844"-1853.
Large 2° (694 x 530mm). Lithographic title with falconry scenes by J.B. Sonderman, 12 colour lithographs of birds of prey after J.Wolf by Wendel with backgrounds after C. Scheuren and G. Saal, 2 colour lithographs of hoods and equipment after and by Portman and von Wouw, and 2 lithographic scenes after J.B.Sonderman by J. Dillman. (Spotted, lightly affecting the colour lithographs, small marginal tear to one plate, repairs to text leaves, mostly marginal, many leaves rehinged, "explication des planches" leaf creased and with tear but without loss of text.) 19th-century cloth-backed boards preserving original portfolio title (worn).
First and only edition of what is agreed to be THE FINEST BOOK ON FALCONRY: "the finest work on falconry which has ever been produced" (Harting); "the life size illustrations of birds are by far the finest ever produced in any book on falconry" (Schwerdt). Its excellence is due to the happy collaboration of Schlegel, director of the National Natural History Museum in Leiden, Verster, Inspector of Hunting and Fishery in the Province of South Holland and author of other hunting works, a range of talented artists particularly Josef Wolf, who also worked for Elliot and Gould, and the realisation of all their efforts by the fine lithographic publishing firm of Arnz. Part of Wolf's original watercolours survive in the Artis Library and in the National Hatural History Museum at Leiden. In his study of the Traité de Fauconnerie (Quaerendo 25, 1995, pp.289-308), Peter Tuijn has pointed out that one of Wolf's most famous images, that of the "Groënlandais" (white gyrfalcon on a gloved hand), is based on a portrait of the bird by Pierre Louis Dubourcq. Wolf's original watercolour of that bird was, incidentally, owned by Gould. The title page to the complete portfolio is dated 1844-1853, but Tuijn has demonstrated that the first fascicule was not issued until the end of 1845, when the dedicatee and subscribers such as the Ministry of the Interior, first received their copies. Although it has been claimed that only 50 (elsewhere, 100) copies were printed, Tuijn has found no information confirming these numbers. Harting 194, Lindner 11.1793.01; Nissen IVB 832, Great Bird Books 105; Schwerdt 2:150; Zimmer 554.