18. DRESSER, Henry Eeles (1838-1915). A History of the Birds of Europe, including all the Species inhabiting the Western Palearctic Region. London: Published by the author 1871-1881, 1895-1896. 9 volumes in 8 (including the Supplement), folio (vol.I: 297 x 235mm; vols. II-VIII: 312 x 247 mm). Letterpress titles, followed by additional decorative titles, 5pp. list of subcribers. 722 lithographic plates only (of 723, 720 hand-colored by Mr. Smith, W. Hart and H. Piffaretti) printed by Hanhart, Walter and Mintern mostly after John Gerrard Keulemans, a few after Joseph Wolf, E. Neale and A. Thorburn (in Supplement), plates and text neatly numbered or re-numbered in manuscript in vols. I-VIII, printed numbers given to plates in the ‘Supplement’. Fine uniform deep brown morocco gilt by Bickers, covers with gilt triple fillet and dog-tooth roll borders, spines in six compartments with raised bands, green morocco lettering-piece in the second compartment , light brown in the third, the others with elaborate repeat decoration in gilt using volutes and various small tools, gilt turn-ins, marbled endpapers, g.e. Condition: lacking one of the two ‘Little Gull’ plates, general light spotting, plates 372 and 426 in vol.VI with heavier spotting, mould spotting to plates 634-638 and associated text in vol.I (supplementary section), plate 645 holed and with old dampstaining, lower cover of vol.VII with small surface damage, small chip to head of spine of vol.III. Provenance: Messrs. Bickers & Son (subscribers, note in the hand of:); William Ayshford Sanford (1818-1902, Nynehead Court, Somerset, England, manuscript notes, signatures, presesentation inscription to:); Edward C. A. Sanford (1859-1923, inscription in in W.A.S.’s hand vol.I “E.C.A. Sanford from / W.A. Sanford / Subscription copy through Messrs. Bickers”).; Lynn Abbott Trust .
a subscriber’s copy, rare in a contemporary full-morocco binding, of the first edition of this “magnificent treatise, beautifully illustrated (wood): a work which according to the contemporary opinion of henry seebohm was “by far the best book which has hitherto appeared on European Birds". It was based on Dresser's collection of 12,000 skins, as well as his extensive travels in Europe. The majority of the plates are by John Gerrard Keulemans “the major bird book illustrator for 30 years at the end of the 19th century” (Christine Jackson). The plate that is lacking is not included in the plate lists, but mentioned in the text: the Little Gull (Larus Minutus), in vol.VIII, should be represented by two plates, one including the male bird in summer plumage (which is present) and a second including an adult bird in winter plumage (which is lacking). Anker 120; Ellis 711; Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 92; Mullens and Swann p. 179; Nissen IVB 267; Wood p. 324; Zimmer p. 177. (8)
est. $18000 – £25000