London: R.H. Porter, 1894-1900. Four volumes. Folio. xxxv, 220; iv, 194; iv, 245; iv, 242 pp. FIRST EDITION. Complete with all contents, lists of illustrations and index. With 100 hand-colored lithographs after J. Smit and J. Wolf and 121 text illustrations; Contemporary brown gilt-ruled cloth with gilt lettering, gilt vignette of antelope on top cover; despite the light rubbing on edges and repair to one text page in Volume I, a very good copy with clean plates from the Library of Dr. James H. Dolan with his faint blind-stamp on the title pages. Ownership inscription on fly-leaves. Item #16287
First edition of this superb, finely produced work, that offers the perfect combination of visual description and scientific information. This was originally the project of Sir Victor Alexander Brook (1843-1891) who supervised the production of the beautiful plates by Smit and Wolf but died of pneumonia before the text could be completed. Sclater was given access to the manuscript, and wrote the text in partnership with Oldfield Thomas, who provided the synonymy and scientific descriptions.
Sclater (1829-1913), a well-known and highly productive (over 1400 publications) ornithologist by trade, is also remembered for his 1858 paper setting out the faunal regions classification of zoogeography later adopted by Alfred Russel Wallace. He was the founder and for many years the editor of Ibis, secretary of the Zoological Society of London, a member of more than forty professional societies at home and abroad, and a council member of the Royal Society of London.
Thomas (1858-1929), British zoologist, was a curator at the British Museum of Natural History. In numerous publications he described for the first time nearly two thousand new species and subspecies of mammals.