Sydney: Thomas Richards, Government Printer, 1869. Quarto, twelve handcoloured lithographs. Modern half red morocco, marbled endpapers, top edge gilt, publisher's stiff card wrappers retained, the title wrapper with a contemporary inscription dated 1889, small owner's stamp "R. Rendle" on title page, an excellent copy.
Gerard Krefft (1830-1881) is rightly considered the father of Australian herpetology. He was a significant figure in Colonial science and wrote papers on mammals, fish, invertebrates and palaeontology. Unfortunately his career was marred by an acrimonious dispute with the Trustees of the Australian Museum and it never recovered. Krefft's Snakes is the premier Australian reptile book and is one of the most desirable and important of all Australian nineteenth-century natural history publications. The plates were drawn and coloured by the Scott sisters, Harriet and Helena, who were responsible for many natural history illustrations including Krefft's other great book, Mammals of Australia, 1871, and Australian Lepidoptera and their transformations, 1864-1898, by their father, A. W. Scott. The advertisement leaf in Mammals of Australia offers copies of Snakes of Australia for sale at "Plain 15s; Coloured 30s." Ferguson 11247.
Price: $7,500.00 AU