London: Witherby & Co., 1907-1910. Five parts. 4to. lv, [i], 381 pp., including half-title and errata. FIRST EDITION. Title in red and black. With 106 fine hand-colored lithographed plates by J.G. Keulemans and H. Gronvold. Each part in the original printed wrappers, though wrappers to parts I and III are detached and others are a bit chipped; plates, as well as the entire interior, are exquisite. An uncut and beautiful set preserved in a folding clamshell case. Item #16258
First edition, Number 156 of 225 copies printed. An amazing copy of a rare work showcasing Keulemans’ incredible talents as an illustrator. This monograph on the petrels (distinguished from gulls in that they seldom come to land except to breed) was begun by Osbert Salvin, but he died in the early stages; Godman later took over the task assisted by Richard Bowdler Sharpe, whose daughters assisted with the coloring of the plates. The first part was issued in December, 1907 with 20 plates; part II in March, 1908 with 20 plates; part III in September, 1908 with 27 plates and an apology from the publishers (printed on the verso of the front wrapper) stating regret for the “unavoidable delay, occasioned by the serious illness of the Author....”; part IV in April, 1909 with 18 plates, and the final part in May, 1910 with 21 plates as well as the introductory text.
Godman (1834-1919) was a British ornithologist, lepidopterist and entomologist. He was a founder and president of the British Ornithologists’ Union. An expert of the flora and fauna of Central America, he was co-author of the monumental multi-volume Biologia Centrali-Americana (1879-1915), as well as The natural history of the Azores (1870).