A Monograph of the Pittidae, or Family of Ant Thrushes (first edition)
By Elliot, Daniel Giraud
Pp. 1p: dedication to Philip Lutley Sclater, 1p: list of subscribers, 2p: preface, 14p: introduction, and with 31 fine hand-colored lithographic plates, heightened with gum arabic (24 plates are signed by Elliot, 4 plates by Paul Louis Oudart, 1 plate is by E. Maubert, 1 plate is by Mesnel, 1 plate is unsigned). Each plate is accompanied by 2-3 pages of descriptive text. Bound in later one-half green morocco leather over the original marbled boards with the original matching marbled endpapers, spine with 5 raised bands outlined by gilt panel lines, 2 compartments with red morocco labels lettered in gilt, all page edges in gilt, folio (21 7/16 x 13 5/8 inches), housed in a custom-made velvet-lined clam-shell box with a one-quarter green leather spine over burnt red cloth boards made by Brockman Bindery in the UK. This is the first edition of the first of D.G. Elliot’s great bird monographs. This monograph was limited to 200 copies only. Elliot drew and colored the plates for this work. This is the only work he published that he also illustrated. Elliot originally hired artist Paul Louis Oudart to do the illustrations, but Outdart died after completing just four plates. Rather than trying to find another artist, Elliot decided to take on the responsibility of illustrating the work himself. Elliot illustrated the birds in vibrant shades of blues, greens and reds, and the birds are placed against beautifully drawn landscapes. Elliot took great care to ensure that the flowers and foliage shown in detail with the birds were appropriate for the species shown. The Pittidae described are native to Borneo, Nepal, Ceylon, the Philippines, New Guinea, and Cambodia amongst other places. As with many other tropical birds, the Pittidae are brightly colored which likely influenced Elliot to choose the Pittidae as the subject of his first monograph. A rare and spectacular ornithological work, the first book by Elliot with his own illustrations, and the scarcest of his major monographs. This copy bears the signature of George N. Lawrence on the front endpaper. George N. Lawrence is also listed as one of the original subscribers of the work. George Newbold Lawrence (October 20, 1806 – January 17, 1895) was an American businessman and amateur ornithologist. See also Fine Bird Books (1990), p. 95; BM (NH) vol. I, p.522; Nissen IVB 292; Sabin 22228 (noting that only 200 copies were printed); Wood p. 332; Whittell pp. 225-226; and Zimmer p. 208.
|Publisher Place||New York|
|Date Published Estimated||No|
|Number of Volumes||1|
|Condition||A fine copy in a fine binding housed in a fine slipcase, a magnificent copy.|