A Fine original hand-colored steel engraving with bright original coloring. 12mo (6.75 x 4.25 inches, 10.8 x 17.15 cm). This fine engraving is classified as one the very finest Natural History miniatures produced. A refined and intelligent work, The Naturalist's Library was intended for everyone interested in Natural History, not just the wealthy who could afford the lavish color plate books produced during the early to mid 19th Century. In addition, the education of young minds had recently become the fashion, yet there were no small color plate books sized to miniature hands capturing the realistic glory of the natural order. Sir William Jardine (1800-1847), noted Scottish Ichthyologist and Ornithologist, combined the talents of his colleagues, acknowledged naturalists in every field- Edward Lear, Prideaux John Selby, William Swainson, among them, and produced The Naturalists' Library. The intention was to create a fine, yet affordable work, describing and illustrating all elements of the natural world, birds, animals, fish, insects, save the plant world. Several plates were engraved after the naturalist masters, John James Audubon, John Gould and Maria Sibylla Merian. The success of the publication was evidenced by the creation of 40 separate volumes within the next few decades. The engraver of the work was William H. Lizars, who at the time was engraving the first ten plates of John James Audubon's magnum opus, The Double Elephant Folio Edition of The Birds of America. Lizars engraved the plates in steel, opposed to copper, to render a very fine line on a small tablet, allowing for a very full and intricate background setting for each described species. Traditionally, only the major subject (bird, animal, insect or fish) was hand-colored with watercolor, the background was left uncolored. This work has withstood the test of time and continues to be an affordable option to the engraved work of many natural history masters.
Edition: First edition
Condition: Fine with original hand-coloring
Book Id: 2300