BROWN, Peter (active b/w 1766-1791)
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: Benjamin Wright, printed by William Bowyer and John Nichols, 1776. Quarto. (11 1/2 x 9 inches). Titles and text in parallel French and English, 50 hand-colored engraved plates, most signed 'P. Brown' or 'Peter Brown'; several of the plates carry dates between January and May 1775. 50 hand-colored engraved plates after the author.
Contemporary straight-grained green morocco, elaborately bordered gilt covers. Raised bands in five compartments, gilt-lettered.
A very fine First Edition of an elaborately illustrated zoological book. Brown's interests extended beyond Great Britain to include birds and other animals from Africa, the West Indies, North and South America, and Southeast Asia.
Brown's New Illustrations of Zoology, modelled on earlier work by George Edwards, is based on specimens from the natural history collections of Marmaduke Tunstall, Thomas Pennant, the Royal Museum, and the Royal Society; it also contains 20 plates based on drawings by Ceylonese artist Pieter Cornelis de Bevere from the collection of John Gideon Loten, Dutch East India administrator in Ceylon. As he later recollected, Thomas Pennant supported Brown by providing him with specimens and writing much of the text. Animals depicted in the book span the globe, ranging from South Carolina and Florida to Surinam, Brazil, Jamaica, and Angola, as well as Ceylon and Java. Brown exhibited at the Royal Academy between 1770 and 1791, and was, in addition to his zoological studies, an accomplished flower painter. The coloured plates of New Illustrations of Zoology include 42 birds, five mammals, two insects, and one amphibian.
Anker 72; ESTC T143948; Fine Bird Books (1990), p. 82; Nissen IVB 151; Zimmer, p. 101; Wood, p. 264; P.S. Dance, The Art of Natural History: Animal Illustrators and their Works (1978).