Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    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.

    Shipping, Taxes, Terms and Bidding
    Calculate Standard Domestic Shipping

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2008
    4th-5th Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 658

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $9) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Only 3 days left to consign to the 2018 December 9 Civil War, Militaria, Arms & Armor - Dallas!

    Learn about consigning with us

    This was my first time dealing with an auction house, and I am 100% completely impressed with Heritage. There is not an aspect of this process that I have a critique for.
    Darryl S.,
    Stuart, FL
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2018 September 13 Rare Books & Maps Signature Auction Books - Dallas
    2018 September 13 Rare Books & Maps Signature Auction Books - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,094,775