The finest ornithological work published in the United States, by the finest bird artist in America after Audubon – limited to 200 copies only. Only 71 names appear on the original subscribers list.
Elliot describes his aims in the preface: ‘Since the time of Wilson and Audubon, no work has been published upon American Ornithology, containing life-size representations of the various species that have been discovered since the labors of those great men were finished. The valuable productions of Cassin, as well as the revised edition of the ninth volume of the Pacific Rail Road Report, the joint labor of Messrs. Baird, Cassin and Lawrence had indeed appeared … but no attempt had been made to continue the works of the first great American naturalists in a similar manner … It was, therefore, with the desire to contribute … towards the elucidation of the comparatively little known species of the Birds of North America, their habits and economy, as well as to render their forms familiar so far as life-size representation of them might serve to do, that I undertook the present publication.’
Nearly all the species are illustrated life-size. The work is dedicated to the Alexander Wilson, ‘pioneer of American ornithologists’, and the preface additionally pays homage to Audubon. The book was intended as a sort of supplement to Audubon’s and Wilson’s works, as it shows birds which are not included in their works. Amongst the many fine illustrations, mention should be made of Wolf’s depiction of the falco islandicus which has become an icon of ornithological illustration.
Two volumes, large folio (60 x 47 cm). 73 fine hand-coloured lithographs after Elliot, Wolf, and Sheppard,, 21 India proof engravings by Linton after Sheppard mounted in text, occasional light browning to text, Contemporary green half morocco gilt, top edge gilt.
Stock ID: 98786