4 June 2003
SHARPE, Richard Bowdler (1847-1909). Monograph of the Paradiseidae, or Birds of Paradise, and Ptilonorhynchidae, or Bower-birds. London: Taylor and Francis for Henry Sotheran, 1891-1898.
2 volumes, large 2° (543 x 364mm). Mounted on guards throughout. 79 hand-coloured lthgographic plates by W. Hart after his own work and that of J. Gould and J. G. Keulemans, printed by Mintern Brothers, with later hand-colouring, occasional photographic and engraved illustrations in the text. Red morocco gilt by the McNamee Bindery of Cambridge, covers with elaborate borders, gilt spine compartments, gilt edges (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, a work he himself brought to completion in 1888, following Gould's death in 1881. 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, as Sharpe's preface states, 'a great number of the species are here figured for the first time'. Fine Bird Books p. 107; Nissen IVB 865; Zimmer pp. 581-2. (2)
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