Fine Books and Manuscripts

Fine Books and Manuscripts

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 17. Edwards, George | Georges Cuvier’s set of George Edwards’ fine series of ornithological studies.

From the Library of Clayre and Jay Michael Haft

Edwards, George | Georges Cuvier’s set of George Edwards’ fine series of ornithological studies

Lot Closed

December 16, 07:17 PM GMT


25,000 - 35,000 USD

Lot Details


From the Library of Clayre and Jay Michael Haft

Edwards, George

A Natural History of Uncommon Birds. London: for the author, [1743-51, i.e. 1739-51]. [With:] Histoire Naturelle D'oiseaux Peu Communs. London: for the author, 1745-51. [And with:] Gleanings of Natural History/Glanures D'histoire Naturelle. London: for the author, 1758-64

Together three works in eleven parts, bound in seven volumes, 4to (314 x 236 mm, uncut). A bit foxed, mostly in the text, light offsetting of plates to text, edges somewhat dust-soiled and with occasional small chips, Birds p. 99 marginally ink-stained in the press, Gleanings plates numbered mostly in manuscript (presumably as issued). Uniformly bound in contemporary blue-patterned boards; rebacked in plain calf, extremities rubbed.


I: One vol. in 4 parts, 4to (in 2s). I: [4], xx, 52; II: iv, 53-105, 2[107]-128; III: [4], 106-157; IV: [2], [4], 158-248. Hand-colored engraved frontispiece, 210 hand-colored engraved plates, one uncolored engraved plate (this last with marginal tear just crossing into image).

II: One vol. in 4 parts, 4to (in 2s), the parts bound at ends of vols. 1-4, comprising: I: [10], XXI + LII + [1]; II:[4], [1] (blank) +LIII-CV, 26; III: [2], pp. [1] + CVI-CLVII; IV: [1], pp. [1]+CLVIII-CCX, 211-236.

III: One vol. in 3 parts, 4to (in 2s). I: [4], pp. 108; II: [2], pp. [8], xxv, 109-220; III: [2], pp. [4], vii, 221-347. Engraved portrait and 152 hand-colored engraved plates (numbered [211]-362).

A wonderful association copy: Georges Cuvier’s set of George Edwards’ fine series of ornithological studies. Cuvier is considered the greatest natural historian of his time, and founded the modern disciplines of comparative anatomy and vertebrate paleontology (see Stephen Jay Gould, preface to J. C. Smith, Georges Cuvier: An annotated bibliography, Washington, 1993, foreword). "At its date of issue, the Natural History and Gleanings was one of the most important of all Bird Books, both as a Fine Bird Book and a work on Ornithology. It is still high on each list" (Fine Bird Books).


Fine Bird Books 73 ("very fine"); Nissen IVB 286-88; Wood 329; Anker 124-26; Ayer 192-99; Yale 86-87


Baron Georges Cuvier (stamp on titles), 1769-1832, renowned zoologist and comparative anatomist — Museum d'Histoire Naturelle (stamps on titles) — Maggs Brothers, London, catalogue 861 (1959), 75 — sold in these rooms, 2 February 1985, lot 13