28 November 2001
St.George Jackson Mivart (1827-1900)
A Monograph of the Lories, or Brush-Tongued Parrots, composing the Family Loriidae. London: R. H. Porter [printed by Taylor and Francis], 1896. 4° (316 x 256mm). 61 hand-coloured lithographic plates by and after J.G. Keulemans, 4 maps with coloured areas of distribution, anatomical figures in text. Original publisher's brown cloth ruled and lettered in gilt, top edge gilt.
FIRST ISSUE with the name 'R. H. Porter' at foot of spine. The maps show the distribution of the family across Australia, New Guinea and the South Pacific Islands, and provide a detail of the islands between Celebes and New Guinea. The plates are described by Sitwell as Keuleman's 'best work', and represent 16 species for the first time. In his introduction the author explains his interest in the family Loriidae 'a very attractive group of rather small birds' varying in dimension 'from the size of a Turtle-Dove to about that of a Sparrow', and consisting 'of 75 more or less distinct species.... The family is remarkable for its brilliancy and gay coloration', and its friendliness: 'Some of them ... will spontaneously approach human dwellings, and most of them make excellent pets....' Their feeding habits are a special feature: 'The lorries are very choice feeders, living as they do on the nectars and pollen of flowers.... The tongue is very remarkable, the papillae at the sides of the dorsal surface and towards its apex being much elongated and bent inwards and more or less backwards so as to form a kind of brush, which is no doubt destined to extract the nectar....' Fine Bird Books p. 94; Nissen IVB 640; Wood p.468 ('an excellent treatise with beautiful hand-coloured plates'); Zimmer p.439.
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