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A Monograph of the Macropodidae or Family of Kangaroos.

GOULD, John (1804-1881).

Published by London: by the author, August 1st 1841-May 1st 1842., 1842
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"AN ANIMAL PERFECTLY NEW AND UNDESCRIBED" (Sir Joseph Banks reported by Hawkesworth). Two parts in one volume. Folio (21 4/8 x 14 4/8 inches). Inserted letterpress slip at end "The discovery of a fine species of Kangaroo [etc.]". 30 fine hand-coloured lithographed plates after Gould and H.C. Richter by Richter, printed by C. Hullmandel (some light offsetting and soiling, very occasional spotting, mainly confined to verso of text and 'margins' of plates). Early 20th-century fine full crimson morocco gilt by Narsher of Hampshire, silk doublures, all edges gilt, original printed paper wrapper for Part II., bound in at the beginning (ink library stamp removed from the lower margin and laid down). First edition. Published in two parts, with an intended third never published, and so without title-page, preliminaries, or index. With the cancelled text leaf for "Petrogale Robusta" (or, Great Rock Wallaby) bound in at the end, and with subsequent text leaf for "Osphranter robustus" (or Black Walleroo) bound with the corresponding plate. Gould opens his monograph on the family of Kangaroos with a description of Macropus Major, or Great Grey Kangaroo, first sighted by Captain Cook and his men in 1770. Hawkesworth records their description of an animal "as large as a greyhound, or a slender make, of a mouse-colour, and extremely swift". Though live specimens were soon being imported to European menageries, Gould's monograph is the first to depict these extraordinary exotic creatures in such glorious detail to the amazement and amusement of a wider European audience. Fifteen of the plates were reprinted in Gould's "Mammals of Australia" (London: Taylor and Francis for the Author, [1845]-1863), two with minor revisions, but the other fifteen plates of kangaroos were completely redrawn for the larger work. Initially employed as a taxidermist [he was known as the 'bird-stuffer'] by the Zoological Society, Gould's fascination with birds began in the "late 1820s [when] a collection of birds from the Himalayan mountains arrived at the Society's museum and Gould conceived the idea of publishing a volume of imperial folio sized hand-coloured lithographs of the eighty species, with figures of a hundred birds (A Century of Birds Hitherto Unfigured from the Himalaya Mountains, 1830-32). Gould's friend and mentor N. A. Vigors supplied the text. Elizabeth Gould made the drawings and transferred them to the large lithographic stones. Having failed to find a publisher, Gould undertook to publish the work himself; it appeared in twenty monthly parts, four plates to a part, and was completed ahead of schedule. "With this volume Gould initiated a format of publishing that he was to continue for the next fifty years, although for future works he was to write his own text. Eventually fifty imperial folio volumes were published on the birds of the world, except Africa, and on the mammals of Australia-he always had a number of works in progress at the same time. Several smaller volumes, the majority not illustrated, were published, and he also presented more than 300 scientific papers. "His hand-coloured lithographic plates, more than 3300 in total, are called 'Gould plates'. Although he did not paint the final illustrations, this description is largely correct: he was the collector (especially in Australia) or purchaser of the specimens, the taxonomist, the publisher, the agent, and the distributor of the parts or volumes. He never claimed he was the artist for these plates, but repeatedly wrote of the 'rough sketches' he made from which, with reference to the specimens, his artists painted the finished drawings. The design and natural arrangement of the birds on the plates was due to the genius of John Gould, and a Gould plate has a distinctive beauty and quality. His wife was his first artist. She was followed by Edward Lear, Henry Constantine Richter, William Matthew Hart, and Joseph Wolf" (Gordon C. Sauer for DNB). Nissen ZBI 1662; Sauer 11. Catalogued by. Bookseller Inventory # 002322

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Monograph of the Macropodidae or Family of...

Publisher: London: by the author, August 1st 1841-May 1st 1842.

Publication Date: 1842

Binding: Hardcover

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