Atlas Folio, (650 x 450mm) later half calf gilt over marbled boards, spine gilt with the gilt crest of the Earl of Derby, with 13 Watercolour Drawings by B.Waterhouse Hawkins of which 10 were used for engravings for the published work , 3 unpublished watercolours of Wild Boar.
This collection of watercolour drawings by Hawkins, was probably intended for a second edition of the work, with the addition of other mammals from the zoo. The second edition never materialised
The drawings of boar carry a watermark dated 1846, and it may be that these drawings were unused trials for Gray’s Gleanings, which commences publication in that year.
Lord Stanley became the 13th Earl of Derby in 1834 and until his death in 1851 established the Knowsley Aviary & Menagerie.The collections totalled 318 species (1272) individuals of birds and 94 species(345 individuals) of mammals, in a zoological garden that covered 100 acres of land and water. There was reptiles and exotic fish as well as birds and mammals , and astonishingly 756 individuals had been bred at Knowsley. At the sale of the collection in 1851 after the Earl had died, it was described as ‘the most complete and important private zoological collection in the world’. The sale catalogue was compiled by Thomas Moore, Deputy Superintendent of the living collections at Knowsley.
Lord Derby commisioned Edward Lear, Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins and Joseph Wolf to paint the living animals in his collection and he privately published the two volumes of Gleanings, where the living animals were described by John Gray of the British Museum. The first volume included 17 species(mostly large birds and small mammals) illustrated by Edward Lear. The second volume covered ungulates, with 62 engraved plates, mostly in colour,and mainly by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins.
Many of the birds and mammals that had died at Knowsley are now preserved as cabinet skins in the collections of the Liverpool Museum.
Amongst Lord Derby’s numerous friends, correspondents and visitors to Knowsley were John James Audubon, John Gould, Charles Darwin and the artists mentioned ; Edward Lear and Joseph Wolf.