GOULD, John (1804-1881). R. Bowdler SHARPE. A Monograph of the Trochilidae, or Family of Hummingbirds. [And] A Monograph of the Trochilidae or family of Hummingbirds Completed after the author's death Supplement. London: published by the author, -1861; Henry Sotheran & Co., 1887. (1887)
7 volumes (22 x 14 inches). Folio. 418 hand-colored lithographs, many HEIGHTENED WITH GOLD LEAF AND OTHER IRIDESCENT MINERAL PAINTS, overpainted with transparent oil and varnish colors, after John Gould, H.C. Richter and W. Hart, with a 7th volume including the original blue printed paper wrappers. Contemporary half brown morocco (extremities a little scuffed). Provenance: with the bookplates of Frederick Ducane Godman (1834-1919), the celebrated ornithologist, on the front paste-down of each volume. "bring to light the hidden treasures of the great primeval forests of the New World" (Gould "Preface") First editions of the main title and of the Supplement. Gould maintained an obsessive fascination for Hummingbirds: "These wonderful works of creation my thoughts are often directed to them in the day, and my night dreams have not infrequently carried me to their native forests in the distant country of America" (Gould "Preface"). During his lifetime he identified more than 400 species of Hummingbird, Linneaus, by comparison, having only identified 22. Gould famously exhibited his personal collection (from which the plates in this monograph are drawn) at the Great Exhibition of 1851 in the Zoological Gardens in Regents Park, and one of his revolving displays of these tiny birds with their "jewel-like glittering hues" (Gould "Preface"). As a result Gould's "masterpiece [is] an incomparable catalogue and compendium of beauties" ("Fine Bird Books"). From the distinguished library of Frederick Ducane Godman, author of "A Monograph of the Petrels" (1907), and "Natural History of the Azores" (1870).
Guidance: Christie's, 2011 - EUR 151,000; Christie's, 2005 - $156,000