George Edwards. Pl. 89 [Great Black Petril] From A Natural History of Uncommon Birds.
London: George Edwards, 1743-51. Quarto. Engravings. Original hand coloring. Excellent condition.
An exuberant group of prints by ‘The Father of British Ornithology.’ George Edwards (1694-1773), well remembered for his ornithological work and for the publication of his marvelous A Natural History of Uncommon Birds, was a familiar figure in British naturalist circles of the mid-eighteenth century. He was a good friend of Mark Catesby, who created the first American ornithology, and of Sir Hans Sloane, the founder of the British Museum. Edwards produced his impressive volumes almost single-handedly, for not only did he make the drawings upon which the prints are based, but he also wrote the text, etched the plates and did his own coloring. For this work, Edwards was elected to the Royal Society and his fame spread throughout Europe. So great was the impact of his History, that Edwards has been credited with almost alone popularizing the art of bird and animal illustration with this historic publication. Thus, these wonderfully decorative prints are as significant as they are delightful and beautiful.
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