WITH OVER 900 WOOD ENGRAVINGS OF BRITISH BIRDS, FISHES AND REPTILES
YARRELL, William. A History of British Fishes. Two volumes. WITH: A History of British Birds. Three volumes. WITH: BELL, Thomas. A History of British Reptiles. London: John Van Voorst, 1836, 1843, 1849. Together, six volumes. Octavo, late 19th-century straight-grain dark green morocco gilt, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt. $3200.
First editions of Yarrell's two great natural histories, together with the second edition of Bell's work on British reptiles, profusely illustrated with over 900 fine wood engravings, in handsome uniform morocco-gilt bindings by E. Riley & Son.
"These works are compiled on the same plan; they contain accurate figures, with accompanying descriptions, of every known variety of British fish or bird; and they have from the first taken their position as the standard authorities on the subject in our language. Few books on natural history are more agreeable to the general reader: the style is ever pleasant, and the truth with which he describes the habits of the birds is such as might have been expected from the keen sportsman who had so often watched their motions when at liberty in their native haunt" (Allibone, 2882). Appearing later than Thomas Bewick's famous History of British Birds (1797), Yarrell's History boasts "a text of greater ornithological interest than Bewick's" (Knight, 163). The History of British Fishes is "indispensable in every English angler's library as a work of reference" (Westwood & Satchell, 244). "In point of accuracy of description and the homely truthfulness of his account of the habits of birds, Mr. Yarrell has had no equal" (Allibone, 2882). Also a dental surgeon-and "for a long period the only capable surgeon who applied scientific surgery to diseases of the teeth" (DNB)-Bell, then professor of zoology at King's College, first published his survey of British reptiles in 1839. Lowndes, 3015. Birds: Zimmer, 697-98; Nissen, 182. Fishes: Westwood & Satchell, 243-44. Sage, 243. Thacher, 590. Armorial bookplates.
Text and plates quite clean. An about-fine set of important natural histories, uniformly and handsomely bound.