London, the author, 1879-1882. Folio (32.3 x 25.5 cm). lii, [i], 171 pp.; 55 lithographed and finely hand-coloured plates, 13 groups of steel engravings in the text, showing taxonomically important parts, including heads, bills, etc. Contemporary red half morocco over gilt-bordered, red pebbled cloth. Spine with five raised, gilt-stippled bands. Compartments with gilt floral vignettes, title and date. Marbled endpapers. Top edge gilt. Original printed [and dated] wrappers, of all seven instalments, bound in rear.
A work not only renowned for its scientific accuracy and wealth of (new) information, but above all for its astonishing illustrations. All "excellent" (Zimmer) plates are by the famous Dutch bird illustrator John Gerrard Keulemans (1842-1912). The text is by the renowned British zoologist (chiefly ornithologist) Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913). Both bird families occur only in South and Central America up to Mexico. Puffbirds get their common name from their fluffy plumage. The list of subscribers, present in all but the last (July 1882) wrappers, mentions between 37 and 46 individuals, societies, and institutional libraries (including one book dealer, presumably for a single customer). In the last instalment, a final list of 48 subscribers is present (dated July 1882). Provenance: armorial bookplate of the Anglo-British botanist and ornithologist Henry Rogers Broughton, 2nd Baron Fairhaven (1900-1973), mounted on the front pastedown. Light shelf wear, mostly to the front upper hinge; Plates 44 and 54 somewhat spotted, as are the adjacent text leaves; first and last blank and opposite blank free endpaper versos more extensively foxed; all other leaves clean, or only very mildly spotted. Anker, 451; Goode, G. B. (1896) The Published Writings of Philip Lutley Sclater, 15; Keulemans & Coldewey, " Feathers to Brush, the Victorian Bird Artist John Gerrard Keulemans"; Nissen IVB, 840; Zimmer, p. 561.