SELBY, Prideaux John. Plates to Selby's Illustrations of British Ornithology. Edinburgh and London: Archibald Constable & Co., and Hurst Robinson & Co. (vol. 1) and W.H. Lizars, Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green & Longman, and W. Curry (vol. 2), -1834.
2 vols. 2o (598 x 512 mm. and 645 x 522 mm.). 222 engraved plates after Selby, R. Mitford, and W. Jardine by Selby, Jardine, and W.H. Lizars, 218 hand-colored, engraved title vignettes (vol. I: title with perforated stamp, small ink stamp on plate 1 and 55, vol. II title creased, small ink stamp on plate 1, plate 76 with tear along fold, plate 91 torn, affecting image, a few plates with scattered light foxing). Contemporary half-calf and marbled boards, (rebacked with old spines laid down, first vol. is slightly shorter, library mark to foot of spines, rubbing to edges).
AN EARLY EDITION of one of the most splendid works published on the Birds of Great Britain. The work was published in 19 irregular issues between 1819 and 1834 and there is no consensus about what constitutes a first edition. The plate count of the above set does agree with many other sets; however plate 60, called for by Nissen, is not present, and plate 87 present here is not in Nissen. The Watermarks in vol. 1 are dated 1813-1831 (but are mostly 1818 and 1821). The magnificent life-size plates owe much to the influence of Audubon from whom Selby had lessons. "After so many books with small, stiff bird portraits, this new atlas with its life-size figures and more relaxed drawings was a great achievement in the long history of bird illustration" (Jackson). [With]: 2 text vols. Edinburgh, 1833. Ayer/Zimmer 571; Fine Bird Books 107; Jackson Etchings 201-13; Nissen IVB 853 (221 plates only). (2)