BROWN, Peter (fl.1776)
New Illustrations of Zoology, Containing Fifty Coloured Plates of New, Curious, and Non-Descript Birds, with a Few Quadrupeds, reptiles, and Insects. Together with a Short and Scientific Description of the Same. (French title) Nouvelles Illustrations de Zoologie, Contenant Cinquante Planches Enluminées d'Oiseaux Curieux, Et Qui Non Étés Jamais Descrits, Et Quelques de Quadrupèdes, de Reptiles Et D'Insectes, Avec de Courtes Descriptions Systématiques
London: [William Bowyer and John Nichols] for Benjamin White, 1776. Quarto. (11 3/4 x 9 inches). Titles and text in parallel French and English, 50 hand-coloured engraved plates, most signed 'P. Brown' or 'Peter Brown'; several plates carry dates between January and May 1775.
Contemporary straight-grained green morocco, spine richly gilt, gilt edges.
First edition, a handsome copy with fine hand-colouring. Brown's interests extended beyond Great Britain to include birds and other zoological subjects from Africa, the West Indies, North and South America, and Southeast Asia.
Brown's New Illustrations of Zoology, modelled on The Natural History of Uncommon Birds by George Edwards, was based on specimens from the natural history collections of the Royal Museum and the Royal Society; it also includes 20 plates after drawings by Ceylonese artist Pieter Cornelis de Bevere from the collection of John Gideon Loten, Dutch East India administrator in Ceylon. The British naturalist and antiquarian Thomas Pennant supported Brown in the making of this book, not just by providing him with specimens from his private collection, but also by writing much of the text. Pennant had previously employed Brown to make two of the plates in the former's British Zoology. Peter Brown (fl. 1758-1799), thought to be Danish, was court painter to the Prince of Wales. It is not certain if he studied as a pupil of Georg Ehret (1708-1770), the famous botanical artist from Germany, but he was most certainly influenced by his work. Brown exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1770 and 1791, and was, in addition to his zoological studies, an accomplished flower painter. Forty-two of the delicately coloured plates in the Zoology depict birds (together with insects), five mammals, two insects and one reptile; The birds and mammals come from places across the globe, ranging from South Carolina and Florida to Surinam, Brazil, Jamaica, and Angola, as well as Ceylon and Java.
Anker 72; ESTC T143948; Fine Bird Books , p. 82; Nissen IVB 151; Zimmer, p. 101; Wood, p. 264; P.S. Dance, The Art of Natural History (1978).