London, Smith, Elder and Co., -1849. Five volumes in five. Large 4to (31.6 x 26.6 cm). Reptilia: (ii [index], 28 [appendix] pp., errata leaf; 78 plates (75 plates hand-coloured, plates 30, 42, and 48 plain as intended); Mammalia: vii pp. (including index); 52 plates (numbered I-XVII, XIX-XXXVI, XXXVIII-LIII, VIIIbis); 48 hand-coloured, four (8bis, 15, 21, 25, plain, as intended); plates 18 and 37 not published - see Mammalia index list); Pisces: [i] p. (index); 31 hand-coloured plates; Aves: [ii] pp.; 114 hand-coloured plates; Invertebratae: [ii], 75 pp.; four hand-coloured plates, making a total of 279 plates (272 hand-coloured) most by and after George H. Ford, and all with descriptive text on unnumbered leaves. Uniform publisher's green blind-stamped cloth with floral pattern on the boards and gilt title on the spines. Brown endpapers.
This is a rarely seen complete copy, in a fine condition, of this magnificent magnum opus of the British naturalist Sir Andrew Smith (1797-1872), regarded as "the father of South African Zoology" (Adler). All parts on vertebrates were written by Smith, with fine plates, nearly all by George Henry Ford (1808-1876). As member of the expedition he was able to draw each specimen after living or recently dead animals. Included is the often missing complete invertebrate section to which Smith acted as editor only. The text is by William Sharp Mac'Leay (1792-1865). It consists of four parts, viz. On the Cetoniidae of South Africa (52 pp., one plate); On the brachyurous decapod Crustacea brought from the Cape by Dr. Smith (19 pp., two plates); and On a new species ofCerapterus (four pp., one plate). Provenance: The North Devon Athenaeum, Barnstaple (Rock Trust), with their small stamp "bequethed by H. H. Sharland", on title page versos and in a few text leaf lower margins. A cancellation letter, written by the Athenaeum's Head Librarian, and directed to Wheldon & Wesley, loosely inserted. Minimal shelf-wear, mainly to spine bottom edges. Invertebrate plates mildly foxed, as usual, otherwise only an occasional small spot, and in all a truly excellent set. Adler I, p. 36; Crane Library, AC24; Horn-Schenkling, 14355 (for Mac'Leay); Nissen ZBI, 3868; Wood, p. 570.