GOULD, John (1804-1881)
A Monograph of the Ramphastidae, or Family of Toucans
London: Taylor & Francis for the Author, [1852-] 1854. Folio. (21 5/8 x 14 3/4 inches). 51 hand-coloured lithographic plates by Gould and Henry Constantine Richter, one uncolored lithographic plate by G. Scharf, all printed by Hullmandel & Walton.
Publisher's full dark green morocco, covers elaborately tooled in blind and gilt.
A very fine copy of the second, revised and expanded, edition of Gould's first great ornithological monograph in the publisher's deluxe binding.
The chief glories of this work are the wonderful plates worked up by Richter from Gould's masterful sketches. The resulting images ably capture the vibrant colours and ready intelligence that many of these birds exhibit. The first edition of this work, published in 1834-1835, marked the first attempt to picture and describe the whole Toucan family. The range of these extraordinary birds is limited to Mexico, Central and South America and some of the West Indies. The first time a Toucan was described in print was by Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes in 1526. The first use of the name 'Toucan' and the first illustration of the whole bird was in Andre Thevet's Singularitez de la France (Paris: 1555, pp.88-90). The family name Ramphastos as suggested by Linnaeus was taken from Aldrovandus. Gould considered the present edition as essentially a new work, both in terms of the number of new species described (51 plates compared to 33 in the first edition) and because of discoveries made in the Andes and Cordilleras, he proposed dividing the group into six genera rather than the previous two. The distinguished zoologist, Richard Owen, provided a specially written essay on the anatomy of the toucan, included here and accompanied by an uncoloured plate of details of the anatomical structures.
BM(NH) II,p.701; Anker 170; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.101; Nissen IVB 378; Sauer 19; Wood, p. 365; Zimmer p.259.