London: Published by the author, [1844-1850]. Folio (545 x 306 mm). 23 pp. FIRST EDITION. Complete with half title, list of subscribers, and 32 magnificent hand-coloured plates by Gould and Henry Constantine Richter. Contemporary morocco with elaborately gilt decorated spine, insignificant repair on spine, all edges gilt, marbled paste-downs; some light spotting on first and last blank leaves, otherwise an excellent copy. Item #13940
First edition of Gould’s splendid folio on the partridges of America, in which he celebrates the unassuming game bird in a grand and sumptuous style. He here expertly illustrates 35 partridge species in their natural surroundings, greatly enlarging their recorded number. Each spectacular plate is accompanied by detailed information on each figure, including measurements, behavior, and habitats.
Gould (1804-81), one of the most innovative, productive, and versatile ornithological illustrators of the nineteenth century, began his study of birds and taxidermy while assisting his father at Windsor. He became taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London in 1827 and began publishing his own books on birds beginning in 1832 with his landmark work A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains. “In the field of natural history the accomplishments of John Gould are truly monumental. No other ornithologist has ever exceeded (or will ever exceed) the number of Gould’s bird discoveries and the magnitude and splendor of his folio publications” (Sauer, John Gould, xv).