Monographie des Picidées ou histoire naturelle des Picidés, Picumninés, Yuncinés ou Torcols.
Metz, Jules Verronnais, 1861-62. 4 volumes (including 2 plate volumes). Folio (360 x 545mm). pp. (14), lxx, 214; (4), 325; (4), 8; (4), 6, with 123 beautifully handcoloured lithographed plates drawn and lithographed by Mesnel, Delahaye, and P. Oudart. Contemporary green half morocco, richly gilt decorated spines in 7 compartments.
A beautifully bound copy in pristine condition. "This, probably the best monograph on the woodpeckers of the world, is finely illustrated by well-drawn, handcoloured plates. The treatise was limited to 100 copies and was issued in 24 livraisons" (Wood p. 49). "There are works of a wonderful minor intricacy such as Malherbe's 'Les Picidées' … a work of which only 100 copies were privately printed at Metz in 1861-62, with hand-coloured plates by M. Delahaye. Many of the woodpeckers are conspicuous for the mock-tortoiseshell markings of their back and wings; others have spotted or tabbied breasts like thrushes. There are sapsuckers with long thin bills like humming-birds; and Malherbe illustrates a beautiful cactus pecker that has its home in Guatemala. This work on woodpeckers, in its involved complexity, is more satisfying…" (Fine Bird Books p. 45). With this magnificently produced work, the only major work on the woodpeckers, ends an era of splendid French ornithological publications, just to mention those of Audebert, Levaillant, Vieillot a.o. The plates, (all directed by Malherbe 'A. Malherbe dirext') are superbly coloured by hand, using vivid and bold colours and are 'gommées à la main', showing the birds in their natural habitat. According to O. Lorenz only 80 copies have been published. Nissen IVB 587; Fine Bird Books p. 92.
Item nr. 9845
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