Edinburgh: WH Lizars, 1835. First edition. A fine original hand-colored steel engraving. (6.75 x 4.25 inches, 10.8 x 17.15 cm).
This engraving is classified as one of the finest natural history miniatures produced during the mid-nineteenth century. A refined and intelligent work, The Naturalist's Library was created for everyone with an interest in the natural world. Sir William Jardine (1800-1847), noted Scottish Ichthyologist and Ornithologist, combined the talents of his colleagues; Edward Lear, Prideaux John Selby, William Swainson to contribute to The Naturalist's Library. The intention of the series was to create a fine yet affordable work, describing and illustrating all elements of the natural world save botany. In addition, several plates were engraved after noted artists: John James Audubon, John Gould and Maria Sibylla Merian. The success of the publication was apparent by the production of forty subsequent volumes.
The engraver of the work was William H. Lizars, who at the time produced the first ten plates of John James Audubon's magnum opus, the Double Elephant Folio Edition of The Birds of America. For The Naturalist's Library, Lizars engraved the miniature plates in steel opposed to copper to render meticulously detailed settings for each described species. Traditionally only the major subject, either bird, animal, insect or fish, was individually painted with watercolor, the background remained uncolored. This work has withstood the test of time and continues to be a fine and affordable option to the lavish engraved work of many natural history masters. Fine with original hand-coloring. Item #5558