(Kent: Volair Limited, 1977).
FIRST EDITION OF THIS HANDSOME SET INCORPORATING MANY OF AUDUBON'S FINEST PAINTINGS. And with the textual portions elaborated by Audubon for each of the birds or animals pictured.
Audubon’s BIRDS OF AMERICA is without a doubt the greatest American work on natural history, perhaps the greatest work on ornithology ever created and one of the greatest printing endeavors of the 19th century. It represents the most sumptuous example of American lithography and colouring and the actual representation of the birds of the continent is beyond praise and without equal to this day. From the colouring of the plumage to the anatomical correctness the images are unsurpassed, and perhaps unsurpassable. The birds are drawn in action, amid trees, on plains, in the water, whatever is correct to best display their natural habitat. They are moving, flying, living, breathing creatures and one can not help but to expect them to leap off the page at any moment and zip out the nearest opened window.
As early as the 1830’s Audubon began preparations for a new work of natural history, focusing not on the birds, but rather on the mammals of America. John Bachman and Audubon’s two sons, John W. and Victor, collaborated extensively with him on the project. Bachman, a naturalist and authority on the subject of quadrupeds, wrote most of the text and did the final editing. The Audubon’s studied and collected specimens from a vast portion of America including Missouri, the Rocky Mountains, Florida, and much of the Eastern coast and woodlands. Unlike his previous works on the birds which had been drawn mostly from life, the Quadrupeds were primarily drawn from memory, specimens, skins, and stuffed animals. Audubon tackled this immense project late in life when his eyesight and general health were failing. Even so, he completed 77 of the drawings and sold hundreds of subscriptions for the publication before poor health forced him to retire altogether. Item #31400
2 volumes. First of the Edition, Special Limited Edition, handnumbered. This set with the scarce publisher's prospectus and original letter to subscriber's included. Illustrated throughout both volumes, 40 plates in full colour after the original Audubon paintings in the Birds volume and 37 plates in full colour after the original Audubon paintings in the Quadrupeds volume. All beautifully produced with colouring as in the best of Audubon's previously published editions, and with a profusion of black and white drawings within the text. Royal 8vo, publisher's original leather bindings, the spines with raised bands with 22 karat gilt decorations and lettering to the compartments, upper and lower covers gilt stamped in an all-over design, silk endleaves, all edges gilt, the two volumes housed in the publisher's original slipcase. xv, 287; vii, 319 pp. A pristine set, as mint and in perfect condition.
(Kent: Volair Limited, 1977).