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Auction: Auction 15.12.2005
was auctioned on: 15 December 2005
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WILSON, Alexander (1766-1813) and George ORD (1781-1866). American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates. Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings taken from Nature . Philadelphia: Robert [...

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Estimate: US$15,000 - US$20,000
Price realised:  US$16,800
Lot number 595, Views: 78

WILSON, Alexander (1766-1813) and George ORD (1781-1866). American Ornithology; or, the Natural History of the Birds of the United States: Illustrated with Plates. Engraved and Colored from Original Drawings taken from Nature . Philadelphia: Robert [-and William] Carr for Bradford and Inskeep, 1808-1812 [vols. I-VI]; Philadelphia: Thomas H. Palmer for Samuel F. Bradford, 1824 [vols. VII and VIII]; Thomas H. Palmer for J. Laval and S.F. Bradford, 1825 [vol. IX]. 9 volumes, 2 o (341 x 266 mm). 76 hand-colored engraved plates by Alexander Lawson George Murray John G. Warnicke and Benjamin Tanner after Wilson (some mostly light foxing and offsetting). Contemporary red quarter roan gilt, marbled boards (minor wear). Mixed edition, FIRST EDITION of Vols. I-VI (reissues of vols. VII-IX) of "THE FIRST TRULY GREAT AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGY AND ALSO THE FIRST TRULY OUTSTANDING AMERICAN COLOR PLATE BOOK OF ANY TYPE" (Bennett). While his fame has been eclipsed by Audubon, Wilson was truly the "father of American ornithology," and his work represents the first attempt to systematically describe and depict the various birds of the United States from first-hand observation. He traveled extensively in the American wilderness, caught and studied 320 different birds, including several that had not previously been known, and taught himself the art of drawing. He personally supervised the engraving of the plates, assisted in teh coloring, wrote the descriptions, and even acted as his own salesman, peddling the work from door to door. Wilson died before the final three volumes were published, and the text of the work was completed from his notes by George Ord, who also contributed a lengthy biography of Wilson to the final volume. Anker 533 ("the classical work of American ornithological literature"); Bennett, p.114; Fine Bird Books , p.114 ("the first American bird book with coloured plates published in America"); Nissen IVB 992; Sabin 104597; Wood, p.630; Zimmer, p.679. A FINE SET IN ORIGINAL BINDINGS. (9)

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Christie's
Title: Auction 15.12.2005
Date of the auction: 15 Dec 2005
Address: Christie's
New York, Rockefeller Center