Newcastle: printed by Charles Henry Cook, for R. E. Bewick: sold by him, Longman and Co., London; and all booksellers. 1832. Full Calf. 8vo: xl,386; xviii,424pp. Collated and complete in two volumes: I. containing the history and description of land birds; II. containing the history and description of water birds. Illustrated throughout with engravings on wood by Thomas Bewick. Uniformly bound in contemporary full polished calf, covers framed in double gilt fillets and leaf roll in blind, spines in five compartments with two black morocco lettering pieces gilt; end papers and edges marbled. Provenance: old book plates on front paste down and front fly leaf of both volumes. A superb set, bindings tight and secure, contents very fresh and bright without a trace of foxing or browning, rich impressions of the numerous woodcuts. Not in Roscoe. OCLC Number: 12197896. Fine. Item #BB0913
According to ODNB, more than 600 distinct woodblocks were engraved for this two-volume work by the time the last of eight editions was published during Bewick's lifetime. "Apart from the excellence of the principal figures, the numerous tailpiece vignettes that enlivened every spare space in the book came in for special notice. . . . [Their] narrative content . . . is often ironic and displays a mordant view of the world and human folly . . . The gritty reality of the lives of the crippled old soldiers, road menders, blind beggars, and rain-soaked packmen who inhabit Bewick's landscapes is at odds with the sentimental view of those who now reproduce his work on pots and tea towels. . . Any comparison of Bewick's work with that of his predecessors makes clear how original it appeared at the time. Not only was there truth in outline and animated posture, but the habitat was beautifully realized." Note: With few exceptions (always identified), we only stock books in exceptional condition, carefully preserved in archival, removable polypropylene sleeves. All orders are packaged with care and posted promptly. Satisfaction guaranteed.