BEWICK, Thomas. A History of British Birds ... Vol. I. containing the History and Description of Land Birds. Newcastle ... 1805. [WITH] A History of British Birds ... Vol. II. containing the History and Description of Water Birds. Newcastle: Printed by Edward Walker, for T. Bewick... ... 1805.
Royal 8vo. 2 vols.; Contemporary half tan calf, spine with gilt raised bands, lettering and foliate tools; pp. xxxviii + 346; xxii + 400; 220 wood-engravings, 239 vignettes and tail-pieces, 10 text figures, all by Thomas Bewick;; a little rubbing to extremities with chipping to head of spine of vol I, occasional spots but overall very clean, very good.Provenance: front pastedowns with bookplate of John Drinkwater (1762-1841), soldier, confidante of Nelson and military historian.
Third edition of Volume 1 (Land Birds); second edition of Volume 2 (Water Birds). "[Bewick] limited himself to British birds, which he could observe at first hand, and the scenes of English life, previously confined to tail-pieces, became more numerous and elaborate, more varied and poetic. The History of British Birds is consequently his masterpiece with respect both to craftsmanship and creative imagination." (Gordon Ray, The Illustrator and the Book ..., p.34).
Roscoe 18b and 19b.