A monograph of the Alcedinidae: or, family of kingfishers.
Item ID 71756
London, the author, 1868-1871. Large 4to (30.5 x 23.1 cm). Title page, dedication leaf, contents leaf, list of plates; lxxi, xi pp., plain plate of generic characters (showing mainly heads and beaks); hand-coloured map of the family, two half-titles (to the subfamilies), 120 finely hand-coloured lithographed plates, with ca. 200 pp. of descriptive text. Contemporary gilt-bordered red half morocco over marbled boards. Spine with five raised bands; compartments with rich-gilt floral patterns and title. Marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt. This finely illustrated work is the first and most important monograph of the kingfishers. According to Zimmer 'A thorough monograph of the subject, containing all the available information respecting the birds in question and illustrated by fine hand-colored plates'. Included are a new genus and a new species. The 120 fine plates are by John Gerrard Keulemans (1842-1912). The author is one of Britain's foremost ornithologists, Richard Bowdler Sharpe (1847-1909), also the principal author of the massive list of ornithological species in the British Museum of Natural History (where he was curator of the birds and augmented the collection from a 'mere 35,000' to nearly a million specimens) and many other fine avian works. Among the subscribers we find the names of both Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace. Provenance: armorial bookplate of Harvey Ralph Goring Clarke (1868-1929) on the front pastedown. Species 40 bound after 41 in accordance with the list of plates; repaired tear, touching a few letters, through the text leaf of species 43, Dillwyn's kingfisher. All plates fine. A very nice, complete copy. Anker, 464; Nissen IVB, 864; Sitwell, Fine Bird Books , p. 141; Zimmer, pp. 575-576.