SELBY, John Prideaux (1788-1867). Plates to Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology. (Vol.I) Edinburgh and London: published by W.H.Lizars; Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown & Green in London, [vol.I undated, vol.II 1834, both with plates watermarked 1824-1840].
2 volumes (654 x 525mm). 2 engraved titles with vignettes, 4 uncoloured plates of details and 218 hand-coloured etched plates by Selby and W.H.Lizars after Selby, Robert Mitford (55), Edward Lear (1) and William jardine (5). (Vol.I: title and first plate creased, plate LIII with some spotting to lower blank margin; vol.II: title and first and last plate creased, light dampstaining to outer margins of plates I-VI, small tears to plates VII, X, XIII, XLVII*, LXXXIII, small hole in the image of plate LII.) contemporary green half morocco gilt, g.e., by J.Wright (some scuffing to extremities).
FIRST EDITION, later issue of one of the most beautiful of all books of British birds, without the two octavo volumes of text. "In many people's estimation, the clarity and crispness of [Selby's] figures give them an austere beauty lacking in the pretty lithographs in H.L.Meyer's and John Gould's books about British birds... The cool, classical quality of Serlby's plates belongs to the age of elegance and could never have been achieved by the Victorian John Gould... Selby's Illustrations... was the finest and largest book about British birds and was remarkable in that it demonstrated copperplate work at its very best." (Bird Etchings p.212). BM (NH) pp.1895-6; Fine Bird Books p.107; Nissen IVB 853; Zimmer p.571. (2)