Monograph of the Pittidae
London: Published by the author, 1880.
London: Published by the author, 1880. First edition. First and sole edition. The Pittidae, or Pittas, are a colourful family of around 40 species of forest-dwelling birds from tropical India, Asia and Australasia, with a couple of species living in Africa. Today, four species are listed as endangered and several more are either vulnerable or near-threatened, largely due to deforestation and the trade in cage-birds.
2 parts folio (all published) bound in one (555 x 368 mm). Late 20th century red half morocco for Henry Sotheran Ltd, decorative gilt spine, sides and corners trimmed with a gilt single fillet, red cloth sides, marbled endpapers, gilt edges; original pale blue printed wrappers preserved. 10 hand-coloured lithograph plates by John Gould in collaboration with William Hart and H. C. Richter, printed by Walter. A handsome copy.
Part I only was complete at the time of Gould's death; Part II was issued without plates, and no title page or preliminary letterpress was produced for either. This copy would appear to have professionally executed later hand-colouring.
"The sheer number of imperial folio volumes on birds published by Gould has never been surpassed. He was the entrepreneurial naturalist of the 1800s in England, and the pioneer naturalist of Australia" (ODNB).
Fine Bird Books p. 78; Nissen IVB 377. (Item #4498)