YARRELL, William. A History of British Birds.

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YARRELL, William. A History of British Birds. John Van Voorst, 1843.

8vo. 3 vols. Original green cloth, paper labels to spine ; pp. 528; pp. 672 + [iv, ads.}; pp. 528 + 268*-9*, 316*-7* [to be inserted in vol 1], xxxii [index], permanent tile pages of vols 1 and 2; 520 wood engraved illustrations by John Thompson; paper labels rubbed, spine of vol 1 neatly repaired, very clean, very good. Provenance: ffeps with the bookplate of Hugh Fattorini, book collector and dealer. Previous owner's bookplate to front pastedowns.
First edition, bound up from parts as in the Smithsonian Library copy. Zimmer describes it as "for many years a standard work on the natural history of British birds." It was hugely successful because of its appeal to the burgeoning market for lower-priced books of natural history as ornithology, in particular, became a popular recreational pursuit. Wood-engraving was a cheaper production method than lithography or metal-engraving and so the price could be kept down; yet Thompson's illustrations are of great artistic merit. Moreover, Yarrell's text is as accessible and entertaining as it is accurate and informative .
Nissen IVB 1029; Zimmer p. 697; Wood p. 639.