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    Archibald Thorburn. British Birds. Written and Illustrated by A. Thorburn, F.Z.S. With Eighty Plates in Colour, Showing Over Four Hundred Species ... London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1915-1916.

    First edition. Four folio volumes (12.25 x 10.25 inches; 310 x 260 mm.). viii, 144; vi, 72; vi, 82; vii, [1, blank], 107, [1, blank] pages. With eighty full-page color plates and tissue guards. Titles printed in red and black.

    Beautifully bound in contemporary gilt-ruled half crimson morocco over marbled boards by Bayntun of Bath (stamp signed in ink on upper outer corner of free endpapers, verso), spines lettered in gilt in compartments with gilt ornithological stamps, five raised bands, marbled endpapers, top edges gilt. Even toning throughout. Scattered light foxing and spotting. Corners slightly bumped, and a few corners with small bits of loss. Overall a fine set.

    A lovely copy in an exceptionally stunning binding by Bayntun, Thorburn's British Birds is surely one of the finest color plate bird books printed in the twentieth century. Indeed, in Fine Books, 1700-1900, Sachervell Sitwell concludes his account of the history of great illustrated books by stating that this work, while outside the scope of his study, nevertheless "brings the long succession of Fine Bird Books to an end"; and Peter Tate, in A Century of Bird Books, says of the eighty color plates, "They are probably the best work Thorburn did, and although they show several birds on one page they are amongst they are among the best illustrations of their kind in a British bird book."

    Acker 508. Nissen, ZBI, 938. Sitwell, p. 61.

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    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
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