[THOMAS PENNANT (1726-1798)]
The British Zoology. Class I. Quadrupeds. II. Birds. Published under the inspection for the Cymmrodorion Society. London: J. and J. March, -1766-?. 4 parts and supplement in 2 volumes, large 2 (509 x 352mm). Title-page and dedication printed in red and black, 133 hand-coloured etched plates (11 of quadrupeds, 122 of birds) by P. Mazell after P. Paillou, Desmoulins, G. Haulner, C. Collins, P. Brown, and G. Edwards, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED WITH 20 FINE WATERCOLOURS, MANY BY SAMUEL HOWITT, plate of the female Black Cock in two states, one before letters except for the engraver and with different colouring. (Some light unobtrusive discolouration, occasional light offsetting of plates onto text.) Early 19th-century half russia, marbled-paper boards, black and red morocco lettering-pieces (rebacked with calf, extremities rubbed). Provenance: J.G. Verdoorn (signature dated 1965 on title-pages).
A VERY FINE, EXTRA-ILLUSTRATED COPY OF THE FIRST EDITION, INCLUDING THE RARE FIFTH PART. The first four parts comprise 107 plates, and this is the number given on the title-page, and the extra, fifth, part comprises 25 plates. Most copies contain only 132 plates but Mullens & Swan (p. 466) state 'copies are extant containing 133 plates, but these are not as originally published.' Nevertheless copies exist with an extra plate, usually a second or other state, as in the present copy. Pennant's name did not appear in the title until the fifth edition, despite his pre-eminence in English 18th-century zoology. Pennant, something of a gentleman-scholar in the grand tradition of enlightened learning and patronage, corresponded with Gilbert White, and was elected to the Royal Society of Upsala on the recommendation of Linnaeus. The British Zoology was his most successful and influential work; a folio edition with text in German and Latin appeared a few years after the publication of the first edition, and during Pennant's lifetime there were numerous editions in various formats. The first edition is the first attempt to list and portray all of the British species, many of them life-size. This copy clearly belonged to an enthusiastic and serious zoologist who added, presumably commissioned, twenty fine watercolours illustrating species not illustrated in the printed work. The watercolours depict the following birds: Ringtail Eagle: Sea Eagle; Peregrine Falcon; Kestrel; Hobby, male and female; Greater Spotted Woodpecker; Bittern; Great White Heron; Curlew; Lesser Godwit; Snipe; Jacksnipe, male and female; Ruff, before and after moulting; Sandpipers, 3 examples; 'Sandpiper having two horns'; 'Glaucus Prociales or seagull'; 'Black Toed gull shot at Edengales'; 'Golden oriole & bee eater' together on one leaf. The watercolour of the Curlew is signed 'Howitt' and all the watercolours are almost certainly by Samuel Howitt (1765?-1822), a sporting and natural history painter, who worked in oils and watercolours, and a prolific etcher. The watercolours are characteristic of known examples of Howitt's bird paintings; he drew his specimens with care and attention to detail, with confident composition and bold, bright design. Howitt married the sister of Thomas Rowlandson (1756-1827), and the work of the two men has much in common. The owner responsible for introducing the watercolours into the present copy also left neat pencil annotations on a few of the plates. Nissen IVB 710; Zimmer p. 487; Fine Bird Books p. 99; Mullens & Swan pp. 464-466. (2)