London: Wells Gardner, Darton & Co., 1898.
First Edition. Hardcover. This lively ode to the "curiosities of bird life" covers such subjects as "The Playing-Grounds of Birds," "Wonderful Nests," and "The Courtship and Dancing of Birds," among others, and is the work of curator of the bird collection at the British Museum of natural history Richard Bowdler Sharpe (1847–1909). Sharpe holds credit for describing and naming in Latin 233 species of bird and 201 subspecies, as well as for introducing 45 genera and for having the honor of having several species and subspecies of birds named after him, including Sharpe's drongo, Sharpe's apalis, Sharpe's starling, Sharpe's akalat, and Sharpe's longclaw. The more than a hundred black-and-white vignettes, figures, and monochrome plates by Alfred Thomas Elwes (1841 – 1917) add to the charms of this enthusiastic flight into the wonderful world of birds.
8 1/4" X 6". xvi, 399pp. Green cloth over boards, with Racket-tailed Hummingbird stamped in brown, emerald, and silver to upper board, King of Saxony's Bird of Paradise to spine, and male Blackcock to rear board, the latter two in black, gray, and brown. Upper board and spine lettered in gilt. Moderate wear to binding, with corners turned in, bumping to extremities, and rubbing to edges. Front hinge a touch tender. Binding remains sound. Previous owner's name to front free endpaper, dated 1905. Foxing to endpapers. Very occasional spot of foxing to pages throughout, else unmarked. Illustrated in over a hundred black-and-white vignettes, figures, and plates. Very good. Item #5764