The Snakes of Australia; an illustrated and descriptive catalogue of all known species (with all 12 plates hand-colored and warmly inscribed by the author)
By Krefft, Gerard
Pp. i-xxv + (1)-100; 12 hand-colored lithographic plates. Publisher’s original one-half grayish-brown polished calf leather, spine with 5 raised bands, one compartment has a red morocco title/author label lettered in gilt, over gray marbled boards, housed in gray cloth-covered custom-made clamshell box, lettered in gilt on the spine on a black morocco title label, 4to (12 x 9.25 inches; 300 x 238 mm). Only 700 copies of this book were issued; most copies did not have all of the plates hand-colored as seen in this volume. This is Krefft’s herpetological magnum opus, the first major treatise exclusively about Australian reptiles. It was produced wholly in Australia and was up to the best standards of contemporary natural history publishing. The hand-colored plates are technically well produced, but suffered from the fact the artists, two sisters, were both afraid of snakes. They would only illustrate living specimens from photographs or from museum specimens taken out of bottles of alcohol, which accounts for the coiled positions of some subjects. The artists were Harriet Scott (1830-1907) and Helena “Nellie” Scott Ford (1832-1910, daughters of a businessman and amateur Australian naturalist, Alexander Walker Scott, author of Australian Lepidoptera, 1864-1898 (modified from description by Adler). This copy is warmly inscribed by the author along top of the title page: “His Highness Prince Ferdinand Philipp, Duke of Saxony, with awe, the Author” (translated from the old German). The complete name of the prince is Ferdinand Philipp of Saxe-Colburg and Gotha, Duke of Saxony (1844-1921). This volume is from the private research library of herpetologist Kraig Alder with his small bookplate on the front attached endpaper and his signature on a blank endpaper dated 1997. See also BMNH 2:1026; Nissen ZBI: 235 (2302); Casey Wood 1931: 422; Zhao and Adler 1993: 380. A rare work with very interesting associations.
|Publisher||Printed for the author by Thomas Richards, Government Printer|
|Date Published Estimated||No|
|Number of Volumes||1|
|Condition Description||Light scuffing to the leather on outer corners and along the head and foot of the spine; a remarkably well-preserved bright and clean copy in near fine condition in a fine cloth-covered clamshell box.|