First edition. Original half maroon morocco-gilt over purple cloth boards. Marbled endpapers. All edges gilt. Published in London by Henry Graves & Co, Very scarce. 1861. Volume I only. Folio. 53cm x 37cm. Lithographic frontispiece and half title. Letterpress title page, Subscriber's List and List of Plates. Fifty plates drawn on stone by Joseph Smit after drawings by Joseph Wolf with a separate page of accompanying text in letterpress by Philip Sclater. Each lithographic plate is hand-finished and then mounted on paper with gilt title beneath.
The binding is firm with some rubbing and scuffing to the edges and is in very good condition overall. The plates are in excellent condition with only very occasional, very minor foxing. Some offsetting and foxing to the tissue guards is present and the letterpress plates have light foxing in places but overall the contents are in near fine condition.
Joseph Wolf 's abilities were widely acclaimed in his own lifetime with the Zoologist Alfred Newton referring to him as the 'greatest of all animal painters' and Edwin Landseer stating that he must have been a bird before he became a man such was his ability and his observation of living birds.
The subscribers totaled 88 with the King of Belgium ordering two copies and John Gould (with whom Joseph Wolf would later collaborate on a freelance basis) five copies.
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