SHARPE, R. Bowdler (1847-1909); and Claude W. WYATT
Monograph of the Hirundinidae or Family of Swallows
London: printed for the authors by Taylor and Francis, 1885-1894. Quarto, 2 volumes. (12 1/2 x 9 3/4 inches). 103 hand-colored lithographic plates and 26 partly-colored distribution maps.
Publisher's gilt and blind-stamped green leather. Top edges gilt, other edges untrimmed.
First edition of this fine monograph of all the known species of swallows.
This detailed monograph includes a study of 109 species of swallows with special attention paid to the migration and geographical distribution of the birds, which are written about at length. Wyatt's plates, printed by Minturn Brothers, often depict the birds in settings appropriate to their habitat and country of origin. R. Bowdler Sharpe was an accomplished British ornithologist and writer. He started his career as a teenager working for a bookseller and at just nineteen years old was hired as the Librarian at the Zoological Society of London. After several years, he moved on to work with the bird collections at the Department of Zoology at the British Museum, where he spent time classifying, cataloguing, and acquiring new collections. It was during his tenure at the museum that he also worked on his writings and published A Monograph of the Hirundinidae. Sharpe was also John Gould's assistant for many years and the only man knowledgeable enough and sufficiently attuned to the famous ornithologist's vision to complete several of his works.
Fine Bird Books (new edition), pp. 141-142 (incorrectly calling for 104 lithographs); Nissen IVB 868.