New York & Philadelphia: E.G.Dorsey for J.J.Audubon and [vols.I-V] J.B.Chevalier, 1844. 7 volumes, octavo. (10 1/4 x 6 3/8 inches). Half-titles, 18pp. subscribers' lists. 500 hand-coloured lithographed plates after Audubon by W.E. Hitchcock, R. Trembley and others, printed by J.T. Bowen of Philadelphia (plates 1-135, 151-500) or George Endicott of New York (plates 136-150), numerous wood-engraved anatomical figures in text. Expertly bound to style in half black morocco and period marbled paper covered boards, spines with semi-raised double bands in five compartments, ruled in gilt on each band, lettered in gilt, brown endpapers The first octavo edition of Audubon's Great National Work: a large set, bound from the original parts and exceptionally clean internally. The plates, here accompanied by the text for the first time, were reduced and variously modified from the Havell engravings in the double-elephant folio. Seven new species are figured and seventeen others, previously described in the Ornithological Biography but not illustrated, were also shown for the first time. Audubon may have been prompted to publish the reduced version of his double-elephant folio by the appearance in 1839 of John Kirk Townsend's rival Ornithology of the United States , or, as he writes in the introduction to the present work, he may have succumbed to public demand and his wish that a work similar to his large work should be published but "at such a price, as would enable every student or lover of nature to place it in his Library." The first edition of the octavo work is certainly the most famous and accessible of all the great American colour plate books, and now represents the only realistic opportunity that exists for collectors to own an entire collection of Audubon images in a form that was overseen and approved by the great artist himself. The octavo Birds of America was originally issued in 100 parts, each containing five plates. The whole story of the production of the book, with detailed information about every aspect of the project, is told by Ron Tyler in Audubon's Great National Work (Austin, 1993). The story Tyler tells of the difficulties of production and marketing are revealing of the whole world of colour printing in mid-19th-century America. The enormous success of the work was important to Audubon for two main reasons: first, it was a moneymaker, marketed throughout the United States on a scale that the great cost of the original Birds of America had made impossible. Second, by combining a detailed text with careful observations next to his famous images, he offered further proof that he was as good a scientific naturalist as the members of the scientific establishment who had scorned his earlier work. This set an unusually tall set bound from the original part and remarkably clean of any foxing or staining. Among the nicest sets internally which we have ever handled. Bennett p.5; Fries, Appendix A; Nissen IVB 51; Reese Stamped With A National Character 34; Ripley 13; Ron Tyler Audubon's Great National Work (1993) Appendix I; Sabin 2364; Wood p.208; Zimmer p.22. (Inventory #: 30511)
You can be confident that when you make a purchase through ABAA.org, the item is sold by an ABAA member in full compliance with our Code of Ethics. Our sellers guarantee your order will be shipped promptly and that all items are as described. Buy with confidence through ABAA.org.