WILSON, ALEXANDER American Ornithology; or, The Natural History of the Birds of the United States. Philadelphia: Bradford an...
Philadelphia: Bradford and Inskeep, 1808-1814. 9 volumes. First editions (preface in vol. I dated September 1st, 1808). Early 20th century three-quarters morocco gilt over boards. 13 7/8 x 9 3/4 inches (35 x 24.5 cm); 76 hand-colored copper plate engravings by Lawson, Warnicke etc. after Wilson. Spotting and foxing which is heavy at places to both plates and text although many plates clean, occasional short marginal tears (one touching text), the plates under guards but with offset to facing leaves, old repair to plate 2, some minor rubbing and wear to bindings, bookplate of C.L.F. Robinson, Newport to each volume, discreet number label to each pastedown.
Alexander Wilson's ornithology was the first great domestically published ornithology of American birds, and one of the grandest color plate publications done in the early Republic. The quality of the engraving and coloring is on a par with the best European works of the period. Reese remarks "This was the first American work to use color plates to convey scientific information, and the first real combination of text and color illustrations produced in the United States." This copy from the substantial library of Charles Leonard Frost Robinson (1874-1916), president of Colt's Patent Fire Arms Manufacturing Company in Hartford from 1911 to 1916, but does not seem to have been offered in the sale of his collection at Anderson Galleries in 1917. Nissen 992; Anker 533; Reese 3; Bennett 114.
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