[COLOR PLATE - AMERICAN] WEBBER, C[harles] W[ilkins] and MILLER, ALFRED J. Wild Scenes and Song-Birds.
New York: 1855. First edition, early issue. Publisher's decorative gilt blue cloth, all edges gilt. 9 3/4 x 6 1/4 inches; x, , 347 pp., chromolithographed frontispiece and 19 chromolithographed plates, some with gesso highlights, printed by L.N. Rosenthal, Philadelphia, after Alfred Miller and Mrs. C. W. Webber. Light rubbing and wear to boards and spine, recased with original spine laid down and retaining original endpapers, old labels removed from front pastedown, contents with occasional light toning and offsetting.
Charles Webber's text is a diverse mix of hunting stories and natural history lore that combines "the formalities of technical natural history... [with] the diversified graces and uses of general literature" (p. v, preface). The most important feature of this book, however, are the five chromolithographed plates after paintings by the Western artist Alfred Jacob Miller. These chromolithographs are fine and early examples of color-printing in American book illustration. Despite having lived with Indian tribes while on an expedition to the Rockies, Alfred Jacob Miller represents Native Americans in a exaggeratedly romantic and pastoral light - a stark contrast from the more documentary-style approach of his contemporaries like Karl Bodmer. This is an early issue - Miller's bare-breasted women have not yet been covered up with blouses in the name of nineteenth century modesty.
Bennett p.111, Reese 28, Ripley p.307, Tyler Prints of the American West pp.64-5, Zimmer p.667, Henderson Early American Sport p. 251, Phillips American Sporting Books p. 398.
C Estate of Arnold 'Jake' Johnson
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