AUDUBON, John James

AUDUBON, John James. The Birds of America. With an Introduction and Descriptive Text by William Vogt

London, Macmillan, 1937.


Folio. xxvi p., 500 full-page colour facsimiles. With frontispiece portrait. Bound in green buckram, gilt-stamped vignettes and titles to front cover and spine. A fine copy of this facsimile reproduction of Audubon’s masterpiece on the birds of Northern America.


NISSEN, Claus. Die Zoologische Buchillustration ihre Bibliographie und Geschichte

Stuttgart, Anton Hiersemann, 1969.


Folio. Vol. 1 of 2 (only bibliography, being volume 2 about history). 666 p., hardback, blue buckram gilt and dust jacket. A fine copy, dj a little frayed and creased at base.


NISSEN, Claus. Die Illustrierten Vogelbucher. Geschichte und Bibliographie

Stuttgart, Hiersemann Verlag, 1953.


Folio. Frontispiece illustration, 222 (2) p., and 16 final tables. Turquoise cloth gilt over boards, upper cover lightly and minimally stained. An excellent copy.

BLOCH, Marcus Elieser


BLOCH, Marcus Elieser. Ichtyologie, ou Histoire Naturelle, Generale et Particuliere des Poissons. Avec des figures enluminees, dessinees d’apres nature [Parts I-VI] Berlin, Chez l’auteur, & Chez Francois de la Garde, Libraire, 1785-1788.


FIRST FRENCH EDITION. Folio (leaves ca. 46×28; binding ca. 47.5×29.5). Parts 1-6 bound in 3 volumes, half-title and title to each part, with elaborate engraved vignette illustrating fishing scenes to each title by D. Berger after F.C.W. Rosenberg. Complete with 216 fine hand-coloured engraved plates, occasionally heightened with gold, silver and bronze pigments to reproduce the shiny reflective scales of fish. In clean condition, crisp and with good margins. Bound in contemporary full Russia with Greek key gilt border decoration to outer edges; skilfully rebacked, gilt decorated spines. Marbled endpapers. An excellent copy.

Marcus Elieser Bloch (1723-1799) was a German doctor and naturalist. This is a remarkable copy of the first six parts of his masterpiece on ichthyologie (the science of fishes), which Brunet defined “the most beautiful that we have about that part of natural history”. First published the same year in German in a quarto edition, this much larger and finer second edition of Bloch’s work was translated into French by J.-C. Laveaux. Nissen described it as “the finest illustrated work on fishes ever produced. The plates, by a variety of artists and engravers, are outstandingly coloured, and are heightened with gold, silver, and bronze to produce the metallic sheen of fish scales.” The engravings were based on drawings from the author’s own collection, which included around 1500 items. His was among the most extensive collections of illustrations devoted to ichthyologie in private hands at the time. The second 6 parts (7-12) of this monumental set in 12 parts containing a total of 432 plates were finished in 1797. Although some copies sold in the book trade and copies in public institutions may show a frontispiece portrait of the author, the present copy is nevertheless complete, since it was issued during the first impression. In fact, we have reason to believe that the portrait was added only in the second impression of these first six parts. Furthermore, this work can be considered complete as it is, because on the title-page of the sixth part, published in 1788, is written “sixth and last part”.

Brunet, I, 974; Nissen ZBI 416; Wood, p. 244; Dance, p. 56.


WRIGHT, Lewis. The Illustrated Book of Poultry. With practical schedules for judging, constructed from actual analysis of the best modern decisions.

London, Cassell, Petter, & Galpin, Belle Sauvage Works, [1873]


FIRST EDITION. 4t0; viii, 591 pp., with 50 chromolithograph plates: “Illustrated with Fifty Coloured Portraits of Prize Birds, Painted from Life by J.W. Ludlow”. Light age-yellowing and very occasional light spotting to margins. Bound in early half gilt-ruled dark brown morocco and buckram over thick boards, marbled pastedown, and richly gilt spine with title and author’s name below the head, divided in 6 compartments. Ex-libris on the inside of left cover, lettering scraped off. Corners and spine sympathetically repaired by a skilful hand. All edges marbled. Overall and excellent copy, clean, of this remarkable work.

This is most renowned and outstanding nineteenth-century work on poultry. “Originally issued in parts from 1872. The oil lithograph plates by J. W. Ludlow were portraits of actual birds and dated [frontispiece with Mr John Douglas black-breasted red game cock, nick-named “The Earl”, shown at Crystal Palace in 1870]. Lewis Wright was the editor of the Fanciers’ Gazette (later the Livestock Journal). … There are two variants of the original edition; in the first the frontispiece is dated 1868. In what may be called the second impression the frontispiece is dated 1870.” (Palmer, John. Poultry books: an annotated bibliography, 1990). This is the second impression of the first edition.

[BYAM, Lydia]


[BYAM, Lydia]. A Collection of Exotics, from the Island of Antigua. By a Lady.

London, 1797.


FIRST EDITION. Large folio. 5 unnumbered leaves comprising title and dedication, plus 12 fine hand-coloured botanical unsigned aquatint plates, title slightly soiled. Modern half-calf and contemporary marbled boards. The Robert de Belder copy (Sotheby’s, London, 1987). A fine copy.

First edition of a very rare botanical book from the library of Robert de Belder, creator of one of the greatest collections of botanical books in the world and founder of the Arboretum Kalmthout in Belgium. Lydia Byam was the elder sister of the Governor of Antigua, William Gunthorpe. This work was printed again in 1798 an 1799. The scarcity of complete copies in this good condition is seen in the fact that, of the two in the Natural History Museum, one lacks 7 of the 12 plates, while the other has its margins trimmed away and a broken binding (our copy is well-margined). Besides the Natural History Museum, there are no other known institutional holdings in Britain, and we know of only one copy of the second edition (at the Wellcome Library). OCLC WorldCat lists three locations only of the present printing in the US (National Tropical Botanical Garden, Hamilton College Library, New York Public Library). No further copies RLG. Hunt 749: “One of the rarest of American floras; not listed by Pritzel, Jackson, Dunthorne, Nissen or Great Flower Books…The charming delicately engraved plates are an example of good representations of American flora which in some instances antedate the earliest colour plates of these subjects listed by Pritzel and Stapf”.

BUFFON, Comte de

BUFFON, Georges Louis Marie Leclerc, Comte de. Histoire Naturelle, Générale et Particulière, avec la Description du Cabinet du Roi. Tome Onzième [Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux]

Paris, De l’Imprimerie Royale, 1780.


FIRST EDITION. 12mo. xx, 495 pp.. One volume, no. 11, out of 18 (all published between 1770 and 1785). Roman letter, some Italic. Half title, title with royal vignette, table of contents and text, with 15 magnificent hand-coloured engraved plates of birds (water-coloured). Head and tail pieces. Bound in contemporary French mottled calf over boards, covers and corners slightly worn. Spine elaborately gilt, divided in six compartments with raised bands; two morocco labels, red and green, with gilt lettering. Hinges a bit tender. A.e.r.. A lovely copy with marbled pastedowns.

Buffon was keeper of the “Jardin du Roi”, later the “Jardin des Plantes”, and the collection connected with it, the “Cabinet du Roi” in 1739. He augmented the collection of birds exponentially, increasing it to more than 800 species gathered from all four corners of the globe. In 1765 at Buffon’s direction, Martinet began drawing and painting the collection, and engraved the plates under the supervision of Edme-Loius Daubenton.

Wellcome II, p.268; Norman 370.



SCHABOL, Roger. Dictionnaire pour la Théorie et la Pratique du Jardinage et de l’Agriculture, par Principes, et démontrées d’après la Physique des Végétaux.

Paris, Chez Debure Pere, 1770.


8vo, pp. lxxx, 528; engraved frontispiece, 18 engraved plates at the end (8 folding) and occasional illustrations throughout the text. Plate 13 with lower half cut out, which was seemingly illustrated, for traces of printing are visible (plate 14 looks similar as to the image setting, although the lower half is blank). Small vignette on title page, head and tail pieces. Bound in original decorated wrappers, paper label to spine with ink title. Label and wrapper on spine deteriorated, showing sewing on four stations of single supports. Untrimmed, with deckled edges. A fine copy, complete, in its original wrappers, with frontispiece and all the 18 plates here present, which often are lacking.

The abbot Jean-Roger Shabol (1690-1768) was a passionate French gardener and horticulturalist, who is renown for his significant contribution to the field. His dictionary of gardening was first published in Paris in 1767. He introduced it with a “Speech on gardening”, which describes the functions of the air, the parts of plants, seeds and sap. The present copy is the second edition of this lovely work, published posthumously, which includes descriptions of garden features, methods of cultivation, horticultural implements and stages of growth in fruit, flower and tree.

FORTIS, Alberto

FORTIS, Alberto. Delle ossa d’elefanti e d’altre curiosità de’ monti di Romagnano nel veronese. Memoria epistolare diretta al signor cavaliere Giuseppe Cobres, Della Società de’ Naturalisti di Berlino

Vicenza, nella stamperia Turra, 1786.


8vo, pp. 85. Thick good quality paper, plus a final large and attractive folding plate showing an enormous fossil elephant tooth from the collection of Count Giovanni Battista Gazzola (1757-1834). Bound in contemporary pasteboard covered with marbled paper. Ink title on paper label glued to spine, a little worn. Binding still holding tight the book block. An excellent copy of a curious natural historical work.

Known mostly for his “Travels into Dalmatia” (1774), Alberto Fortis (1741–1803), was a Venetian abbot, writer, naturalist and cartographer. In 1795 Fortis was elected Fellow of the Royal Society in London. His addressee, the German Joseph Paul Edler of Cobres, was born as Giuseppe Paolo Cobres (between 1737 and 1749 – 1823 in Göggingen) in the Republic of Venice. He later became a banker, private scholar, naturalist in Augsburg and a member of the Berlin Society of Friends of Natural Science. This work is an account of curious findings found in the area of Verona by the Abbot Fortis, on the mountains of Romagnano. The final plates shows one of the about 1200 specimens, mainly fossils of fishes, in the personal museum of Count Giovanni Battista Gazzola.