Parrots in captivity.

Parrots in captivity. W. T. Greene.
Parrots in captivity.

London: George Bell and Sons, 1884-1887. Tall octavo, 81 colour-printed wood-engraved plates (chromoxylographs) by Benjamin Fawcett drawn by A. F. Lydon. Publisher's turquoise green blindstamped cloth, a very good crisp set.

The first book devoted exclusively to parrots in captivity and with much of Australian interest. Occasional contributions were made by the Rev. F. G. Dutton, who writes of the spectacular, but now extinct, Paradise parrot Psephotus pulcherrimus and unwittingly describes their breeding behaviour of burrowing into termite mounds. "A pair I had were most anxious to burrow into the wall of a room in which they were. Had they done so they would have got into a loft and escaped. So they were caged and sent to the Zoological Gardens [London] ..." (volume two, pp. 31-2).

Parrots in captivity is also significant because of the method used in producing the handsome coloured plates. Benjamin Fawcett (1808-1893) devised a technique of colour printing using wood blocks known as chromoxylography. He is best known for his illustrations for Morris' A history of British birds and "The last bird book for which [Frank] Lydon did the drawings and Fawcett the printing was ... Parrots in Captivity, published in 1884-88 in three volumes and two parts of a proposed fourth volume" (Jackson, Christine. Wood engravings of birds 1978). The fourth volume mentioned by Jackson is exceptionally rare, probably a proof issue, and hardly ever seen on the market. Parrots in Captivity should always be considered complete in three volumes.

Ferguson 10071; Fine bird books (reprint) p. 103; Nissen IVB 393; Whittell p. 303; Wood p. 368; Zimmer p. 274.

Price: $4,500.00 AU

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