CORY, Charles Barney (1857-1921)
Diphyllodes Republica [Wilson's Bird of Paradise]
Boston: published by the author for the subscribers, October 1880-1883. Chromolithograph with additional hand colouring. Printed on wove paper. In excellent condition. Image size: 20 x 16 inches. Sheet size: 24 x 18 1/2 inches.
A wonderful print of Wilson's Birds of Paradise, from Corey's celebrated ornithological work.
This spectacular chromolithograph comes from Charles Barney Cory's seminal text "Beautiful and Curious Birds of the World." An extremely rare work, Cory's large folio is considered one of the finest ornithological works of its day. In the preface to his great work, Cory states: 'In writing the present work I have striven to bring together some of the wonderful examples of the ornithological world, and to illustrate them in such a manner that others besides naturalists may become acquainted with the beautiful forms of bird life which inhabit our globe.' Given Cory's stated aim it is unsurprising that he has concentrated on the most spectacular bird family of all: the Birds of Paradise and their relatives the Lyre Bird and the Spotted Bower bird. Twelve of the twenty plates in the text picture these magnificent birds. The eight others include two of the best known extinct bird species: the Dodo and the Great Auk. The remaining choices fall into the curious rather than the beautiful category, with images of the Kiwi, the Ruff, the California Condor, the Black-headed Plover and the Sacred Ibis.
This striking image of the Diphyllodes Respublica is one of the twelve prints of Birds of Paradise. More commonly known as Wilson's Bird of Paradise , the Diphyllodes Respublica is a small bird, roughly the size of a starling. This extremely rare species is endemic to the island of Waigeo and Batanta of the western coast of Papua New Guinea. In the male of the species the upper mantle is sulphur yellow while the wings and the lower mantle are a shocking crimson. The bird's breast is lush velvet green and its curled tail feathers are a gleaming silver. The most curious attribute of this remarkable species is its bald crown which is coloured a rich cobalt blue and is so vivid that it is clearly visible by night. Unfortunately, their extraordinary beauty has made them eagerly hunted, and the species is close to extinction.
Bennett p. 28; BM(NH) I, p. 387; Fine Bird Books (1990), p. 87; McGrath p. 59; Wood 30; Nissen IVB 205; Nissen SVB 109; Zimmer p.137.