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Great Brown King Fisher - EDWARDS, S. (after) - 1789. 
London: John Stockdale, 1789. Original engraving, 260 x 190 mm. very good condition, mounted. Fine impression of the so-called "Great Brown Kings Fisher" or Laughing Kookaburra.This engraving is taken from Governor Phillip's Voyage of Governor Phillip to Botany Bay published by Stockdale in late 1789. Interestingly, and probably because early field notes from collectors in New South Wales were few and far between, the distinctive laugh of the kookaburra is not discussed in the text, which simply comments: 'This species inhabits various places in the South Seas, being pretty common at New Guinea; but the specimen from which our figure was taken, was sent from Port Jackson in South Wales (sic), where, likewise, it is not unfrequently met with. We believe it has not yet been figured in any British work.' The reference to New Guinea is an error, related to the earliest publication of any depiction of the kookaburra in Sonnerat's account of a voyage to New Guinea. Sonnerat was given that bird by Sir Joseph Banks at the Cape of Good Hope as he returned on the Endeavour. This is how the bird acquired its incorrect but lasting scientific name Dacelo novaguineae. A slight marginal tear at bottom left corner.
[Bookseller: Hordern House]
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