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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.

Archive
Estimate: £15,000 - £20,000
ca. US$23,005 - US$30,674
Price realised:  £14,000
ca. US$21,472
Lot number 44, Views: 78

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 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, Folio (341 x 260 mm). 76 hand-colored engraved plates by Alexander Lawson George Murray John G. Warnicke and Benjamin Tanner after Wilson. Contemporary red quarter roan gilt with blue marbled boards, spine in five gilt-ruled compartments, titled in the second, numbered in the fourth with repeated gilt device in first, third and fifth. Condition: light spotting to text and offsetting from plates to first five volumes, becoming very light and intermittent in subsequent volumes, "Ruffled Grouse" plate in volume VI trimmed closely intruding on image, evidence of old bookplate removed from pastedowns; ends and joints generally rubbed, minor scuffing to sides, edges somewhat shelfworn. Second issue. a handsome copy in an unsophisticated contemporary binding of " the first american work to use color plates to convey scientific information." (Reese). A key precursor to Audubon, Wilson studied over 300 different bird species during his extensive travels in the American wilderness. A self-taught draftsman, he supervised Lawson's engravings from his field studies personally, assisted with the plate coloring, as well as writing the descriptions. He acted as the project's salesman, but died before the final three volumes were published. George Ord completed the remainder from Wilson's notes. The resulting work, depicted 262 species of birds, 39 new to science and 23 re-classified. 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; Reese 3; Sabin 104598; Wood, p.630; Zimmer, p.679. [ With:] Charles Lucian BONAPARTE. American Ornithology: or, the natural history of birds inhabiting the United States, not given by Wilson. Philadephia: T.K. & P.G. Collins for Carey, Lea & Carey, 1825 [volume I, but ca. 1835]; William Brown for Carey & Lea 1833 [volumes II-IV]. 4 volumes, Folio (390 x 305 mm). 27 hand-colored engraved plates. Contemporary red quarter roan gilt with brown marbled boards, spine in five gilt double- ruled compartments, titled in the second, numbered in the fourth with repeated gilt device, Condition: text imtermittently moderately spotted or tanned in later volumes, plates generally with only light toning or mild, scattered spotting. A handsome copy of this important supplement, in a contemporary binding very nearly matched to the one above. 103 hand-colored plates between the two titles. Anker 47; Nissen IVB 116; Sabin 6264; Wood 247.

Informations about the auction
Auction house: Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
Title: Natural History, including The Trust of Lynn Abbott Collection
Date of the auction: 11 Nov 2008
Address: Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions
16-17 Pall Mall
St James’s
SW1Y 5LU London
United Kingdom
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