BANNERMAN, David A. Birds of The British Isles. Edinburgh & London, Oliver & Boyd, [1953-63].
Tall 8vo. 12 vols. Original green cloth, spines titled in gilt, all with dust-jackets, each with a coloured plate by George Edward Lodge laid down; 386 coloured plates of birds by Lodge, and one uncoloured plate; a little chipping to a coyuple of wrappers with marking to spine of vol 6, otherwise wrappers exceptionaly clean, internally very bright and fresh, very good indeed.
First edition. There was an exhibition of Lodge's watercolours, at Rowland Ward in Piccadilly, simultaneous with the publication of these volumes, and a newspaper report at the time commented on the superb paintings by Lodge thus: "To paint such a series as this is a sustained achievement all the more remarkable for the fact that the author will be 93 next month." The report goes on to say: "His skill in the representation of birds, especially in catching their attitudes and placing them in a natural background, shows no diminution." Alongside Archibald Thorburn, Lodge can be considered one of the greatest 20th century illustrators of birds. The present work was the first to be produced using money from the trust fund set up by Lodge just before his death in 1954 to support the publication of ornithological works.
David Armitage Bannerman (1886 - 1979) was a highly prolific ornithological author. Having served in the Red Cross during the First World War, winning the Mons Star, he devoted himself to ornithology, both as a sole author and with his wife W. Mary Bannerman. He worked part-time at the Natural History Museum until 1951, became Vice-President of the RSPB and twice refused the directorship of the British Museum. Between them, the Bannermans wrote some of the most important bird books of the twentieth century.