AUDUBON, John James and John BACHMAN (1790-1874)
The Quadrupeds of North America
New York: V. G. Audubon, 1849-1854. 31 original parts, 8vo. (10 5/8 x 7 1/4 inches). Vol. 1 title and half-title bound at front of no. 1; vol. 2 title at end of no. 20; vol. 3 title and half-title at end of no. 31; Indexes in parts 10, 20 and 31; Table of Contents in part 31. 155 hand-colored lithographed plates by W.E. Hitchcock and R. Trembly after J.J. and John Wodehouse Audubon.
Original lettered parts wrappers. Housed in three morocco backed cloth boxes.
First edition in the rare original parts of Audubon's final great natural history work, with plates and descriptions of the quadrupeds of the United States including Texas, California and Oregon, as well as part of Mexico, the British and Russian possessions and Arctic regions.
Audubon's collaborator on the Quadrupeds was the naturalist and Lutheran clergyman John Bachman who had studied quadrupeds since he was a young man and was a recognized authority on the subject in the United States. The two began their association when Audubon stayed with Bachman and his family in Charleston for a month in 1831; this friendship was later cemented by the marriage of Victor and John W. Audubon to Bachman's daughters, Maria and Eliza. Audubon knew Bachman's contribution to the Quadrupeds would be crucial, and endeavored to convince his friend to lay aside his fears about the project. Audubon was eager to begin what he felt could be his last outstanding achievement in natural history, but Bachman was more cautious and worried that they were entering a field where `we have much to learn'. Audubon persisted in his efforts to get him to take part, and Bachman, `anxious to do something for the benefit of Victor and John [Audubon]', eventually relented, with the final condition that all of the expenses and all of the profits should go to the Audubons. By 1835, Bachman had become indispensable to the Quadrupeds project, writing most of the text and editing the entire work.
With the success of the octavo edition of the Birds of America in mind, a similar edition of the Quadrupeds was envisaged from an early stage. The folio edition was published in 30 numbers between 1845 and 1854, and publication of the first octavo edition began in 1849 and was also completed in 1854. Unfortunately Audubon did not live to see the completion of either project, and after his death in January 1851 the work was seen through to completion by his son John Woodhouse Audubon. The two editions form a fitting memorial to the greatest natural history artist of his day.
The Prospectus, printed on the back wrappers, states that "The present will be a miniature copy of the large edition, with figures and descriptions of the Quadrupeds of the United States, (including Texas, California, and Oregon), part of Mexico, the British and Russian Possessions and Arctic regions of our continent. Each number will contain five plates, lithographed in a superior style and carefully coloured from the original drawings. The numbers will be delivered to subscribers at intervals of not less than one month, and the work will be completed in thirty numbers."
Very rare in original parts, and here in remarkable original condition.
Bennett, p. 5; Nissen ZBI 163; Reese Stamped With A National Character 38; Wood, p. 208.