American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States. Philadelphia: Robert Carr for Bradford & Inskeep, 1808-1812; Thomas H. Palmer for Samuel F. Bradford, 1824-1825
Folio (13 3/8 x 10 5/8 in.; 340 x 270 mm.). 9 vols. 76 hand-colored engraved plates by Alexander Lawson, George Murray, John G. Warnicke and Benjamin Tanner after drawings by Wilson, colored by A. Rider; a few tears in text leaves, some leaves, especially in vol. 6, browned. Contemporary red half roan, gold-tooled bords, spines gilt; covers of 3 vols. detached, spines and joints rubbed.
"the first truly great american ornithology and also the first truly outstanding american color plate book of any type" (W. Bennet, A Practical Guide to American Nineteenth Century Color Plate Books, New York, 1949). Wilson died before the eighth volume was published, and the text of the work was completed from his notes by George Ord, who also contributed a lengthy biography of Wilson to the final volume. This is the second edition including vols. 1-6 published between 1808-1812, and vols. 7-9 in the new edition issued by Ord in 1824-1825. "In the 76 plates included in his book, Wilson portrayed more than three-quarters of the species of birds known to have existed in America at that time. His work would be overshadowed by the monumental vision of John James Audubon by mid-century, yet the text of Wilson's book was of major scientific importance. Wilson paved the way for much of what would follow, and the excellence of his contributions brought Wilson the distinction of being considered the Father of American Ornithology" (M.R. Norelli, American Wildlife Painting, New York, 1982).
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