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A Synopsis of the Birds of Australia and the Adjacent Islands
London: published by the Author, 1838. 4 parts in one (all published), imperial octavo. (10 1/2 x 7 3/8 inches). 73 hand-coloured lithographic plates by and after Elizabeth Gould. 1p. contents list, 8pp. appendix "Description of New Species of Australian Birds" Expertly bound to style in half green morocco and period green pebbled cloth boards, spine gilt, yellow endpapers, gilt edges Rare coloured issue of Gould's first attempt to describe the birds of Australia. This work is Gould's first work in connection with Australian birds. The excellent plates, the work of Elizabeth Gould, show that she not only possessed great natural talent, but that also developed much from her professional association with Edward Lear: the portrait of the sulphur-crested Cockatoo in part IV is a prime example.Gould published this work, as he states in the prospectus, because he noticed that Australia had not been as well served by ornithological monographs as many other parts of the world. He therefore "conceives that a work on the Birds of [Australia and the adjacent islands] cannot fail to be of the greatest interest ... [and that] ... at this moment [he has ] .. in his possession an exceedingly rich collection ... among which are a large number of undescribed species; and having also relatives resident [in Australia] ... devoted to this branch of science." Gould goes on to lay out his specific plan for the publication. "The Work will be published in Parts, each of which will contain 18 Plates, with letter-press descriptions ... the price of each Part, 1l. 5s. coloured, 15s. uncoloured ... It is impossible to state the number of parts to which the work may extend; the species now known to the author ... may be comprised to form 6 to 8 parts". Gould finishes by noting that if the present work shows that there is sufficient interest, he may undertake a work on the same scale as his Birds of Europe , "in which case he contemplates visiting Australia, New Zealand, &c., for the space of two years, in order to investigate and study the natural history of those countries". History shows that the present work ran to only four parts, but that Gould was induced to visit Australia, and he returned and published his two large format works on the birds and animals of Australia ( The Birds of Australia [London: [1840]-48, 1851-1869, 8 volumes; and The Mammals of Australia [London: [1845]-63, 3 volumes).Ferguson 2271; Nissen IVB 382; Sauer 5; E. Thayer & V. Keyes Catalogue of ... books on Ornithology in the Library of John E. Thayer [Boston: 1913] p.79; Wood p. 364; Zimmer p.254.
      [Bookseller: Donald Heald Rare Books ]
Last Found On: 2016-06-15           Check availability:      ABAA    


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