London, South Kensington
3 October 2006
WILLUGHBY, Francis (1635-72). The Ornithology ... wherein all the birds hitherto known ... are accurately described. London: by A.C. for John Martyn, 1678. 2° (355 x 220mm). Title printed in red and black, 80 engraved plates and 2 letterpress tables, names of birds supplied in pencil in lower margin (title spotted, second half with small wormholes in lower margin, stronger marginal worming affecting ca. 60pp. of text, plates 15 & 16 lightly browned, plate 16 also with a slightly smeared stain, some light marginal waterstaining and light spotting). Contemporary calf, gilt-tooled borders on sides, flat spine decorated gilt in comparments with floral and foliate motifs, compartments divided by dark green onlays, green lettering-piece (lightly rubbed). Provenance: Snelston Hall (bookplate) -- Robert Mowbray (bookplate) -- Cedric and Violet Walter (bookplate).
FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH of "one of the most important treatises on ornithology of all time, being the first systematic classification of the birds of the world" (Wood). The 2 tables outline the method of classification. After Willughby's death in 1672, John Ray undertook the large task of editing their material and supplemented it with his own material. The first edition, published in Latin in 1676, contains 77 plates only. Anker p.532; Mullens & Swann pp. 650-651; Nissen IVB 991; Wing W2879; Wood p. 629; Zimmer p.677.
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