History of British Birds. The figures engraved on wood by T. Bewick.
Newcastle, Printed by Sol. Hodgson/ Edward Walker, 1797-1804. 2 volumes. 8vo (210 x 125mm). pp. (2), xxx, 335, (1), with 208 wood-engravings; pp. xx, 400 with 240 wood-engravings. Contemporary green morocco, richly gilt decorated spines with gilt lettering, gilt panelled sides, inside dentelles, gilt edges.
A superbly bound copy by Zaehnsdorf, one of the finest London bookbinders of the period. Signature of Mrs. N.D. Bewick on free endpaper. Rare first edition and the best possible copy one can possible get. Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) is best known for his 'History of British Birds', which is admired today mainly for its wood engravings, especially the small, sharply observed, and often humorous vignettes known as tail-pieces. He is credited with popularising, a technical innovation in the printing of illustrations using wood. He adopted metal-engraving tools to cut hard boxwood across the grain, producing printing blocks that could be integrated with metal type, but were much more durable than traditional woodcuts. The result was high quality illustration at a low price. The text of the first volume deals with 'Land Birds' is by Beilby and the second volume 'Water Birds' is by Bewick. All the wood engravings are by Bewick. Zimmer p. 57; Nissen IVB, 95
Item nr. 9582
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