CORY, Charles Barney (1857-1921)
Beautiful and Curious Birds of the World
Boston: published by the author for the subscribers, 1883. Folio. (26 1/2 x 20 1/2 inches). Letterpress title (verso blank), preface leaf (verso blank), dedication to Joel Asaph Allen (verso blank), contents leaf (verso blank), 20 text leaves. 20 lithographed plates (18 hand-colored) after Joseph Smit and others, printed by M. & N. Hanhart or Forbes & Co. of Boston.
Contemporary black morocco gilt, gilt turn-ins, silk doublures and linings (rebacked, a few small repairs to edges). Cloth folding box.
"A very rare book" (Bennett), limited to 200 copies, with beautiful plates on a grand scale including some of Smit's finest work.
"In writing the present work I have striven to bring together some of the wonderful examples of the ornithological world, and to illustrate them in such a manner that others besides naturalists may become acquainted with the beautiful forms of bird life which inhabit our globe" (Preface). Given Cory's stated aim it is unsurprising that he has concentrated on the most spectacular bird family of all: the Birds of Paradise and their relatives the Lyre Birds and the Spotted Bower bird. Twelve of the twenty plates are from this group. The other eight include two of the best known extinct bird species: the Dodo and the Great Auk (also included amongst the extinct species is the Labrador Duck). The remaining depict many unusual species, with images of the Kiwi, the Ruff, the California Condor, the Black-headed Plover, and the Sacred Ibis.
Bennett p. 28; BM(NH) I, p. 387; Fine Bird Books (1990), p. 87; McGrath p. 59; Wood 30; Nissen IVB 205; Nissen SVB 109; Zimmer p.137.