London: Henry Sotheran & Co, 1891-1898, 2 vols, Folio, (560 x 400mm) Contemporary half oasis morocco gilt, spines a little faded, with 79 superb hand-coloured plates after J. Gould, W. Hart, and J.G. Keulemans, a splendid uncut copy.
First Edition, First Issue, a Large Uncut Copy of the Earliest Issue
Richard Bowdler Sharpe worked at the Zoology Department at the British Museum. During this time, he had worked with John Gould on The Birds of New Guinea. After Gould died, Sharpe decided to finish the work. The result are these superb hand coloured lithographic plates showing various birds with their highly colourful and sweeping plumage. These prints are considered some of the most beautiful bird illustrations ever produced. The last of the great bird books of the nineteenth century.
William Matthew Hart (1830-1908) bird illustrator and lithographer who worked for John Gould.
Hart started medical training but was unable to complete his studies for financial reasons. He began working for Gould in 1851, beginning an association that was to last thirty years. Early during this period, he made the patterns for the lithographic plates for Gould’s work on Hummingbirds, as well as working on The Birds of Great Britain with Henry Constantine Richter. By 1870 Hart had become Gould’s chief artist and lithographer. After Gould’s death in 1881, Hart was employed by Richard Bowdler-Sharpe of the British Museum to complete Gould’s work on the Birds of New Guinea and to produce illustrations for Sharpe’s great work the Monograph on the Birds of Paradise.
Nissen IVB 865; Fine Bird Books, p 107; Wood p. 565; Zimmer, p. 581