Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America
By Cassin, John
Pp. viii, 298; 50 splendid hand-colored lithographic plates. Later one-half black morocco leather, spine with 5 raised bands, lettered in gilt on two compartments and decorated with gilt rectangular patterns highlighted with small feathers in the remaining 4 compartments, over green marbled boards with matching green marbled endpapers, lg 8vo (10.75 x 7.5 inches). This is the second edition of John Cassin’s beautifully illustrated work on Western birds. The volume features 50 brilliant hand-colored lithographic plates, including many of species discovered after Audubon’s Birds and intended to supplement that great work. “In the spring of 1845, John James Audubon, North America’s most widely-celebrated naturalist and best-known painter of birds, met for the first and last time the inconspicuous academic who would eventually succeed him as the dean of American ornithologists - John Cassin” (Peck, I-3). “Probably no other ornithologist of his day had such a knowledge of the literature of the subject” (DAB). Cassin’s Birds of California is among the most significant and earliest books “representative of the era of western expansion of American ornithology” (Ellis and Mengel). The work was originally published in ten parts between 1852 and 1855 and contains full-page plates and detailed descriptions of 50 species of birds “not given by former American authors.” It also includes a “general synopsis of North American Ornithology,” in which Cassin compares American birds with species from elsewhere around the world. “No American had ever offered such a comprehensive analysis” (Peck, I-7). The plates for Cassin were made from drawings by G.G. White and executed along the same lines as Audubon’s, both the lithographer, William Hitchcock, and the printer, J.T. Bowen, having worked extensively on Audubon’s Birds and on the Quadrupeds as well. This description was modified after a similar description used in the past by Bauman Rare Books. For bibliographic notes see also Anker 92, Zimmer, 124, Nissen 173 and Sabin 11369. Small bookplate on the front endpaper labeled: Ex KEK libris. No other ownership marks and no signs of use.
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|Condition Description||A hint of soiling in the outer margins of two plates with no effect to the color images; a truly spectacular copy in fine condition in a fine binding.|