ELLIOT, Daniel Giraud (1835-1915)
A Monograph of the Phasianidae or Family of the Pheasants
New York: published for the Author, -1872. 2 volumes, folio. (23 5/16 x 18 1/2 inches). 2pp. subscriber's list. 79 fine hand-colored lithographic plates (including 1 folding plate of feathers) after Joseph Wolf by Joseph Smit (58) or John Gerrard Keulemans (21), printed by M. & N. Hanhart and P.W.M. Trap, colored by J.D. White, 2 uncolored lithographic plates by and after Smit, on India paper mounted.
Contemporary half dark purple morocco and purple cloth covered boards, spine with wide bands in six compartments, tooled in gilt on and on either side of each band, lettered in the second and fourth compartments, marbled endpapers, gilt edges
Provenance: Archer (armorial bookplate)
A very fine copy of the most splendid of Elliot's great monographs, and a rare American contribution to this elegant class of books.
Issued in 6 parts between June 1870 and October 1872, A Monograph of the Phasianidae is described by Sitwell as "the equal in every way to any work by Gould". The magnificent size and beautiful coloring of the plates after Joseph Wolf's drawings reflect the importance which Elliot attached to the Phasianidae. Of all the families in the ornithological system, he regarded it as the one most vital to the human race, "containing within it the species that afford food for thousands of mankind, and also those which are the original source of all the domestic poultry met with throughout the civilized world." Both Zimmer and Wood note that Elliot's text in this work is probably the finest of his monographs. The plates by Wolf (to whom The Pheasants is dedicated) earn him "the same rank as Audubon and Edward Lear as a bird-painter" (Fine Bird Books). R.M. Mengel gave the work further praise, writing that "of the great nineteenth-century ornithological monographs, none save Audubon's is so sumptuous" ("Beauty and the Beast: Natural History and Art," The Living Bird, 1979-1980).
Anker 130; Fine Birds Books (1990), p. 95; T. Keulemans & J. Coldewey Feathers to brush... John Gerrard Keulemans 1982, p.61; Nissen IVB 295; Wood p. 331; Zimmer p. 206.