The Birds of America, from Drawings made in the United States and their Territories. New York & Philadelphia: published by J. J. Audubon & J. B. Chevalier, 1840–1844
7 volumes, in 8s (10 5/8 x 6 ¾ in.; 270 x 172 mm). 500 very fine handcolored plates after Audubon by W. E. Hitchcock, R. Trembly, and others, printed and colored by J. T. Bowen all with tissue guards, numerous wood-engraved anatomical figures in text, cumulative list of subscribers in each volume; without half titles, occasional minor foxing, generally not affecting plates. Publisher's brown blind-stamped morocco, spines gilt, edges gilt, navy blue silk placeholders; edges, head and feet of spines rubbed, a few minor dark spots.
Ayer/Zimmer 22; Fried, Appendix A; McGill/Wood 208; Nissen IVB 51; Reese, American Color Plate Books 34; Sabin 2364
First octavo edition. All of the birds from Audubon's original folio aquatints were reproduced by camera lucida for lithography by the artist's son, John Wodehouse Audubon. Seven new species are figured, and seventeen others previously described in the Ornithological Biography but not illustrated are also depicted for the first time. All of the plates are systematically rearranged and renumbered to accord with the text.
Audubon's "little work" was a great success, attracting nearly 1,200 subscribers and becoming the format through which his ornithology was most widely disseminated in the nineteenth century. As it incorporates Audubon's text and several new plates, the present reduced-size issue may also be considered the first complete edition of The Birds of America, as well as the first American edition.A beautiful set, as issued.
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