LILFORD, Thomas Littleton Powys, Lord Coloured Figures of the Birds of the British Islands

R.H. Porter, 1891-97.


8vo. 7 vols. Sometime bound by Zaehnsdorf in full black morocco, raised band and gilt lettering to spines, gilt turn-ins, green silk endpapers, t.e.g.; 421 superb coloured lithographed plates, most chromolithographed, but several hand-coloured, by Archibald Thorburn and J.G. Keulemans; a few are by George Edward Lodge and W. Foster, each with text leaf; occasional spots, very clean in a handsome binding, very good indeed. Provenance: with bookplates of Howord Gould to versos of ffeps.

Second edition. "The work was issued in two Editions: The First commenced October 1885, and the second April 1891, both editions ending simultaneously." The author and publisher both considered the plates in the second edition to be superior, having experienced trouble with the printers during production of the first edition.Keulemans started as Lilford's primary artist, but on becoming ill, was superceded by Archibald Thorburn, who went on to complete more than 250 plates to the seven volume work. "Lilford was an exacting task-master, and knew exactly what he expected from each plate. Thorburn became a frequent visitor to Lilford, where his host kept am extensive collection of birds on his estate, which in addition to aviaries included a pinetum, falconer's quarters, and ponds." (Skipwith p. 168) The relationship between the two men was mutually beneficial, with Thorburn going on to depict many of Lilford's favourites, "the most interesting and exotic residents."

Nissen IVB 563; Zimmer p. 399; Fine Bird Books p. 42.