GOULD, John (1804-1881)
[Darwin's Pucras Pheasant] Pucrasia darwini.
[London: by the Author, 1850-1883]. Hand-coloured lithograph by John Gould and H.C.Richter, printed by Walter. Framed. Sheet size: 14 3/4 x 21 3/4 inches. Faux veneer. 23 3/4 x 29 1/4 inches.
A fine image from John Gould's magnificent folio work 'The Birds of Asia'.
Now known as Darwin's Koklass Pheasant. John Gould quotes from Elliot's monograph on the pheasant family 'This new species of Pheasant appears to represent, on the eastern Chinese ranges, the buff-spotted Pucras of the more western portion of that mighty empire'. 'The Koklass Pheasants have a very discontinuous area of distribution; some subspecies are found in the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Nepal, others in the east of Tibet and north-east China... Koklass are mountain birds living in forests mostly at altitudes of 4000 feet up to about 15,000 feet. They are rather solitary and are never seen feeding in flocks... The cock has an unusual crow and both birds make croaking noises reminiscent of a raven.' (A.Rutgers Birds of Asia 1969, p.38). 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 westward, and from the Moluccas to the east". 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.