GOULD, John (1804-1881)
[Siamese Fireback (Lophura diardi)] Diardigallus praelatus
[London: by the Author, 1850-1883]. Hand-coloured lithograph by John Gould and H.C.Richter, printed by Hullmandel & Walton. Wove paper. Sheet size: 14 1/4 x 21 1/4 inches.
A fine image from John Gould's magnificent folio work 'The Birds of Asia'.
'These birds are quite common in Laos, Annam and south-west China. They live almost exclusively in woods and bamboo forests in the plains of the low hill-country. Family parties or solitary cocks are sometimes seen at the forest edges or on the road particularly in the morning and evening: they are not at all shy. The cock has a loud repeated cry: "pee-yoo-pee-yoo". He also has a piping call and can make a rustling noise with his wings.' (A.Rutgers Birds of Asia 1969, p.33).
The intended geographical range of "The Birds of Asia" was enormous, and very much in keeping with the seemingly limitless self-belief of the 19th-century's best known ornithologist. In his all-encompassing work John Gould includes species from all corners of the eastern world, as Richard Bowdler Sharpe noted the work covers "Species from Palestine to the eastward, and from the Moluccas to the west". Gould chose to record the bird life from an area which, with the exception of the tropical areas of the American continent, includes the widest, and most colourful variety of bird life to be found anywhere in the world.
The present plate is from a large number of images documenting the pheasants of the region, one of the most beautiful and varied of all bird families.
Cf. Anker 178; cf. Fine Bird Books (1990), p.102; cf. Nissen IVB 368; cf. Sauer 17; cf. Wood p. 365; cf. Zimmer p.258.