WILLUGHBY, Francis (1635-1672); and John RAY
The Ornithology of Francis Willughby ... In three books. Wherein all the birds hitherto known ... are accurately described. Translated into English, with many additions. To which are added three considerable discourses, I. Of the art of fowling ... II. Of the ordering of singing birds. III. Of falconry. By John Ray
London: John Martyn, 1678. 3 parts in one volume, folio. Title printed in red & black. 80 engraved plates (2 unnumbered, plus plates numbered 1-78), 2 letterpress tables.
Eighteenth century russia, covers tooled in gilt, spine gilt with raised bands, marbled endpapers and edges.
Provenance: Earls of Abingdon (armorial bookplate); unidentified armorial stamp on the covers and spine; William Wordie (booklabel)
First edition in English of "one of the most important treatises on ornithology of all time, being the first systematic classification of the birds of the world" (Wood): a tall copy with provenance to the Earls of Abingdon.
John Ray and his pupil and friend Francis Willughby toured Europe gathering material for their planned complete classification of the vegetable and animal kingdoms. After Willughby's early death in 1672 Ray took over his notes, and having edited the incomplete manuscript and added his own observations published his friend's work in 1676 as Francisci Willughbeii ornithologiae libri tres; totum opus recognovit, digressit, supplevit Joannes Raius. The present work, a translation by Ray, was published two years later and includes three more plates than the Latin edition, and an expanded text including three additional sections by Ray on fowling, falconry and song-birds.
Anker 532; BM (NH) V, p.2331; Keynes Ray 39; Nissen IVB 991; Wood p.629; Wing W-2879; Zimmer 677.