The Naturalist's Library. Sir William JARDINE.

The Naturalist's Library.

Edinburgh: Lizars; and London, Bohn, 1835 to 1866.

Complete set of 40 volumes, small octavo, each volume with portrait frontispiece & engraved and printed title-page to each volume, and some 1248 handcoloured engraved plates (see note below), making a total of 1328 plates; in a fine nineteenth-century half calf binding, banded spines with double crimson and green labels.

A "complete" natural history, beautifully illustrated

An attractive well-bound set of this mid nineteenth-century natural history encyclopaedia. Each volume also features a frontispiece and introduction devoted to the life of an eminent naturalist, with good biographies for example of Sir Joseph Banks and François Péron, as well as John Ray, Thomas Pennant and Thomas Bewick. The Naturalist's Library was an immensely successful publication, and offered the general public a beautiful and informative encyclopaedia of the natural world. Jardine wrote 15 of the volumes himself, and contributed many of the biographical introductions in the series. The work is renowned for the quality of the steel engravings by William Home Lizars, Jardine's brother-in-law.

An attractive well-bound set of this mid nineteenth-century natural history encyclopaedia. Each volume also features a frontispiece and introduction devoted to the life of an eminent naturalist, with good biographies for example of Sir Joseph Banks and François Péron, as well as John Ray, Thomas Pennant and Thomas Bewick. The Naturalist's Library was an immensely successful publication, and offered the general public a beautiful and informative encyclopaedia of the natural world. Jardine wrote 15 of the volumes himself, and contributed many of the biographical introductions in the series. The work is renowned for the quality of the steel engravings by William Home Lizars, Jardine's brother-in-law.
Sir William Jardine was born in 1800 and developed a keen interest in natural history during his childhood at Jardine Hall, a magnificent estate in Dumfriesshire. A gifted anatomist, Jardine travelled widely in search of specimens for his private museum, beginning with a three year investigation into the life cycle of British salmon and trout. Further adventures took him throughout continental Europe and later the Caribbean. Through these travels and his ceaseless correspondence with fellow naturalists across the globe, Jardine's museum became one of the significant British private natural history collections of the era, boasting over 6,000 species of birds alone.
Jardine's Library includes a rich representation of Australasian species, with one volume entirely devoted to Australian fauna, and including 30 plates depicting possums, marsupials, kangaroos, native mice, koalas, platypus and the now extinct Tasmanian Tiger. Descriptions and illustrations of other Australian species are scattered throughout the entire work, for example a volume devoted to dogs includes the 'New Holland Dingo' with a striking coloured plate alongside a fine engraving of the skull of the dingo compared to that of a jackal. In particular, the fourteen volumes of the series devoted to birds are well stocked with Australian species, and are especially good on parrots, with splendid illustrations of cockatoos, galahs and lorikeets.
Complete sets of this work are uncommon; Ferguson, for example, records only scattered volumes from the series (see 2314a, 3622b, 2766b, etc.). Like other examples, this set is composed of a mixture of volumes from the original Edinburgh edition and the London Bohn version, so spans some thirty years. As often, some of the plates do not exactly correspond to contents leaves, occasionally having too many and other times too few as against the printed contents in each volume: this set contains altogether 1328 plates of a possible 1327 (according to the contents pages) or more likely 1330 (this figure including a frontispiece and engraved title to each volume).

Price (AUD): $9,850.00  other currencies     Ref: #4504064

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