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.
8 parts in 2 volumes, 2° (551 x 376mm). 79 hand-coloured lithographic plates heightened with gum arabic by W. Hart after Hart, J. Gould, and J.G. Keulemans, printed by Mintern Brothers, photographic and engraved illustrations. (Variable light spotting, principally affecting text leaves.) Contemporary mosaic binding of crushed green morocco gilt by Rivière & Son, boards with borders of small floral rolls enclosing floral spray rolls within triple fillets, inner borders composed of repeated bird-of-paradise tools with foliate cornerpieces, upper boards with naturalistic gilt designs of birds of paradise formed of red, green, yellow and purple morocco inlays, turn-ins gilt with floral spray rolls, moiré silk endleaves, spines gilt in compartments, lettered in 2 and dated at the foot, others decorated with bird-of-paradise tools, gilt edges (some fading on spines and portions of upper boards, a little rubbed and scuffed causing surface loss on upper board of vol. II). Provenance: [H. Sotheran & Co. (bookseller's stamp on endleaves)] -- [?Christopher] Crofts, Velvetstown House, Woodville, Co. Cork (1826-1913, bookplates, binding possibly commissioned from Rivière by Sotheran on his behalf, and by descent).
FIRST AND ONLY EDITION OF 'A SPLENDID MONOGRAPH' (Wood), in mosaic binding by Rivière. Sharpe appealed for subscribers for a monograph on 'the Avifauna of Paupasia' in the preface to Gould's Birds of New Guinea (which he brought to completion in 1888, following Gould's death in 1881), and 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'; although Elliot had published his Birds of Paradise in 1873, many species were still undiscovered, and 'Bowdler Sharpe, with double the number of plates, bringing up the tale of exploration of New Guinea to the turn of the century, and omitting no more than two or three of the very latest finds, is more valuable than D.G. Elliot' (Fine Bird Books p. 53). BM(NH) IV, p. 1910; Fine Bird Books p. 142; Nissen IVB 865; Whittell p. 663; Wood p. 565; Zimmer pp. 581-2 (erroneously calling for 72 text leaves in vols I and II, rather than 48 and 52 respectively). (2)