MORRIS, Francis Orpen

MORRIS, Francis Orpen. A Natural History Of The Nests And Eggs Of British Birds

London, Groombridge and Sons, 1866.

£600

4to. 3 volumes, with 232 outstanding colour plates. Bookplates of Arthur R. Pilkington, from the renowned Lancashire noble family, on left pastedowns (crest with motto: “Now Thus; Now Thus”). Some age yellowing and spotting throughout. A Set in dark green/blue decorated gilt cloth over thin boards. Blind-stamped borders on covers, left covers with gilt bird nest tooled as a centrepiece. Gilt titles and volume numbers to spines. Hinges and edges worn and rubbed, covers slightly starting.

Later impression of the second edition of this lavish colour plate book on the nests and eggs of British birds. The author, Reverend Morris was, like many 19th-century Church of England clergymen, also a naturalist. Morris edited The Naturalist from 1856 to 1860 and wrote on a large number of subjects, including evolution (which he did not support), nature preservation, vivisection, and butterflies and moths. But he was most fond of birds, and his most successful works were this series, originally published between 1853 and 1856 (several impressions of the second edition appeared in the 1860s and 70s), and his six-volume History of British Birds (1850-57). “He also supported the causes of bird protectionism… in a rare absence from his parish he travelled to London to give evidence before the select committee on wild birds protection on 26 June 1873. He was instrumental in establishing the Plumage League in 1885, and he was one of the earliest members of the Selbourne League, which was created in December of the same year. In 1888 the government acknowledged his work as a naturalist with the award of a civil-list pension of £100 per annum” (ODNB).