GOULD, John (1804-1881)
A Monograph of the Odontophorinae, or Partridges of America
London: Richard & John E. Taylor for the Author, [November 1844 - March 1846 - November] 1850. Folio. (21 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches). 1p. list of subscribers. 32 fine hand-coloured lithographed plates after Gould and H. C. Richter.
Contemporary green morocco gilt by Clyde, covers with wide decorative border tooled in gilt and blind with fillets and decorative rolls, spine in six compartments with raised bands, lettered in the second and third, the others with repeat decoration in gilt made up from various small tools, stylized foliage tools and a large central rococco tool, gilt turn-ins, cream/yellow glazed endpapers, gilt edges, expert repairs to spine and extremities.
A fine copy of the first edition of Gould's fourth monograph, in which he considerably enlarged the number of recorded species of the American partridge family.
Besides the spectacular plates of American birds, this work is interesting for the light it throws on the all encompassing nature of science before specialization: Gould was inspired by the gift of an English Arctic explorer, received much useful information from a Scottish botanist and finally dedicated the work to the French ornithologist Prince Charles Lucien Bonaparte (1803-1857) the author of American Ornithology. In this, Gould's fourth monograph, he considerably enlarged the number of recorded species of the American partridge family. Gould was persuaded to undertake this project "by the sight of the beautiful Callipepla Californica, presented to the Zoological Society of London by Captain Beechey, in 1830. The graceful actions and elegant deportment of these birds inspired me with a desire to become thoroughly acquainted with the entire group of which they form a part; this desire was even strengthened by the details furnished to me by the late celebrated traveller and botanist, Mr. David Douglas, respecting species seen by him in California, of the existence of which we had until then no idea ... In the course of my researches I have several times visited most of the public and many of the private collections of Europe, and have besides corresponded with various persons in America: the result is that I have had the pleasure of extending our knowledge of the group from eleven to no less than thirty-five species" (Preface).
Anker 176; Fine Bird Books (1990) p.102; Nissen IVB 376; Sauer 13; Wood p.365; Zimmer p. 257.