LILFORD, Thomas Littleton Powys (1833-1896)
Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands
London: R.H. Porter, 1891-1897. 8 volumes, large octavo. Photogravure portrait and 429 hand-coloured lithographs and chromolithographs. List of subscribers to first edition bound in vol. I, second edition subscribers list bound in vol. 8. Original pink printed wrappers preserved in vol. 8. Minor foxing, mostly to the text.
Contemporary green three-quarter morocco, bound by R.H. Porter, spine gilt with raised bands, top edge gilt, marbled endpapers, spines a bit faded
Provenance: Frederick du Cane Godman (bookplates, manuscript notes laid into vol. 1 regarding eggs of the roseate tern)
Subscriber's copy of the first edition, extra-illustrated with 8 plates in different states.
This important bird book, which "establish[ed] a new standard of excellence" (Radclyffe), contains the work of some of the finest nature illustrators of their day, including J.G. Keulemans and Archibald Thorburn. Normally found bound in 7 volumes, the eighth volume present here contains the original part wrappers and the subscribers' list to the second edition. Lilford, along with Osbert Salvin (1835-1898) who completed the final parts of work after Lilford's untimely death, were co-founders of the British Ornithologists' Union (BOU) in 1858 at Cambridge together with Godman. Alfred Newton (1829-1907), Cambridge don and fellow co-founder of the BOU, provided the preface. The book was published in two semi-simultaneous editions, each of 36 parts, between 1885-1897 and 1891-1897 respectively. Godman appears in the subscribers' lists to both editions. The title-pages, wrappers and plates conform to the first edition, but this copy contains the following plates in 2 states: Vol. 1, pl. 7; vol. 2, pl. 25, vol. 5, pls 14, 18, 19, 20; vol. 7, pls 3 and 18. Radclyffe notes that some copies "are occasionally found bound up with ... various cancelled plates that had not met with the author's approval" (p.11).
Anker 308; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.119; Nissen IVB 563; see Howard Radclyffe, "Notes on Lord Lilford's Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands" in Archives of Nat. Hist. (1994) 21(1) 11-16.