London: Author, 1888-1905. Quarto, HISTORY (1888): [13 parts in] two volumes, 48 chromolithographs by Keulemans. Contemporary half brown morocco and green cloth, top edges gilt, spines with raised bands and elaborate gilt inlays. SUPPLEMENTS (1905): two volumes [bound in one], twelve handcoloured lithographs by Keulemans. Contemporary half brown morocco and green cloth, spines with raised bands and elaborate gilt inlays [a slightly different design to the first two volumes], a dampstain on the front endpaper through to frontispiece but not affecting image, bookplates. A magnificent set, uncommon and desirable in this condition.
Second edition with supplements. A history of the birds of New Zealand, in either edition, is one of the best, and most underrated, of all nineteenth century colour-plate bird books. The plates of the second edition show Keulemans at his best and are superb examples of chromolithography. "The book itself is on a larger scale [than the first edition], being Imperial instead of Royal quarto, and the plates, instead of being handcoloured lithographs, have been produced by the more costly but more exact and satisfactory process of printing in colours ..." (Preface). Although 1,000 sets of the 1888 edition were produced, a total of 251 copies were lost in the wrecks of the Matai and the Assaye in 1890 (Galbreath p. 172). The Supplements were limited to 500 sets.
Anker 85; Bagnall 757 and 758; Fine bird books (reprint) p. 85; Mengel 488; Nissen IVB 163; Nissen SVB 83; Wood p. 269; Zimmer p. 115. See also Galbreath, Ross. Walter Buller: the reluctant conservationist. Wellington: CP Books, 1989.
Price: $18,000.00 AU