London, Will. Gardiner, Robinsons, Paternoster-Row, 1802-1806.
7 volumes large 4to [293 x 228 mm] of: I/ xxiii pp. including 1 portrait of the author unbound engraved by Miller after Dandridg, 52 pp. accompanied by 52 pl. in colour numbered 1 to 52; II/ iv pp., pp. 53 to 126, pl. numbered 53 to 105; III/ (2) ll., pp. 106 to 157, pl. numbered 106 to 157; IV/ (1) l., pp. 158 to 210 then 218 to 249, pl. num. 158 to 210; V/ (2) ll., xxxv pp., 108 pp., pl. num. 211 to 260; VI/ (4) ll., 220 pp., pl. num. 261 to 310; VII/ (3) ll., vii preface pp., pp. 221 to 347, pl. 311 to 362. A few rare foxing and stains. Total of 362 full-page plates in colour.
Bound with full green straight-grained morocco, gilt fillet and large gilt roulette composed of multiple animals around the covers, spine ribbed and decorated with different birds in each square, inner gilt roll-stamp decorated with birds, gilt edges. Superb contemporary binding.
Superb copy of the second edition of this magnificent ornithology work.
Fine Bird Books, p. 74; Nissen IVB 286 and 288; Zimmer pp. 201-203; Anker 124-126; Lisney, p. 128.
The superb illustration is composed of 362 full-page plates representing birds of different species, 210 for A Natural History of Birds and 152 for Gleanings.
They all have been delicately hand-coloured at the time.
« George Edwards (1694-1773) was born at Stratford, Essex, and received his early education at a public school at Leytonstone, later being apprenticed to a tradesman in … London. Having access to a large library of scientific books Edwards studied these assiduously and, having made up his mind not to enter business, decided to travel abroad. Between 1716 and 1733 he visited many foreign countries but in December of the latter year settled down in London and, through the influence of Sir Hans Sloane, was chosen Librarian to the Royal College of Physicians… Almost immediately after he was appointed … Edwards commenced the preparation of a series of coloured drawings of animals and birds, used later to illustrate [the present work]; for these he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society and subsequently elected a fellow” (Lisney, p. 127).
“At its date of issue the ‘Natural History’ and ‘Gleanings’ was one of the most important of all Bird Books, both as a fine bird book and as a work of ornithology. It is still high on each list”. (Fine Bird Books).
Gleanings occupying parts 5 to 7 contains title leaves in French and English as well as a text on two columns in English and French.
Precious copy of this amazing work abundamently illustrated with engravings of birds contemporary coloured.