CASSIN, John (1813-1869)
Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America. Intended to contain descriptions and figures of all North American birds not given by former American authors, and a general synopsis of North American Ornithology
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott & Co., -1856. Quarto. (10 3/16 x 6 3/4 inches). 50 hand-coloured lithographs, printed by J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia, 18 after George G. White, 32 drawn on stone by William E. Hitchcock. Scattered minor foxing to the text (the plates generally cleaned), a few plates irregularly trimmed with minor loss at fore-edge.
Contemporary half calf and marbled paper covered boards, spine with raised bands in six compartments, red and black morocco lettering pieces in the second and fourth, the others with a repeat decoration in gilt, marbled endpapers, gilt edges
The first edition of Cassin's additions to Audubon: an important American colour-plate and ornithological work.
Cassin intended his work to supplement that of Audubon. He had originally suggested to Audubon's sons a plan for extending the octavo edition of Audubon's The Birds of America, but difficulty concerning credit on the titlepage sank the scheme, and Cassin proceeded with his own publication. His original intention was to issue a work containing 150 plates but about halfway through the issue of the parts this was reduced to 50 plates. Cassin used the same lithographer as the Audubons, J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia, to produce the beautiful plates of American birds, consisting entirely of western species that Audubon had never observed. Cassin was a trained scientist as well as careful artist and observer, and his work took American ornithology to a new level of technical competence, becoming the first American bird book to use trinomial nomenclature.
Anker 92; Bennett p.21; Cowan p.110; Lada-Mocarski 144; McGrath p.85; Nissen IVB 173; Reese Stamped with a National Character 42; Sabin 11369; Zimmer p.124.