12. Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Les Liliacées. Paris, Didot, 1802-1816.
Pierre-Joseph Redouté (1759-1840), the most celebrated flower painter of his day, remains a pivotal figure in the history of botanic illustration. Redouté's chief patron was Joséphine Bonaparte who, following her acquisition of Malmaison in 1798, spared no expense in cultivating choice flowers and in underwriting magnificent folios featuring Redouté's reproductions of watercolours produced by a number of brilliant stipple engravers. Among the most lavish of these was Redouté's eight volume work Les Liliacées (1802-16), precursor to his equally famous Les Roses (1817-24), both of which are without parallel in the history of botanic art. These books are large folios, breathtaking in their conception and perfection of execution by the Didots, the premier French printers, who produced extravagant books noted for their flawless typography and craftsmanship.
Gift of Benson Rathbone.
13. John Gould. Birds of Australia. London, John Gould, 1840-1869. Published in 36 parts (vos. 1-7) plus 54 part supplement (vol. 8).
The monumental Birds of Australia was one of John Gould's most ambitious works in his series of ornithological books, each sumptuously illustrated with hand-coloured lithographic plates. Gould began work on his masterpiece in 1838, but after completing only two parts, he concluded that it would be impossible to continue from his workshop in London and, cancelling the edition, he sailed to Australia, where he discovered some 300 new species of birds. This is the only publication upon which Gould did his own field work and, upon its completion, Birds of Australia spanned eight volumes with nearly 700 superbly executed plates. The University is fortunate in possessing a complete set in original paper boards, as issued. Upon his return to London, Gould produced a number of other large-scale ornithological publications from his house in Charlotte Street, employing a staff of colourists, lithographers, and artists. It was here that birds from all over the world were shipped. A description of Gould's Charlotte Street house disclosed that "every room is full of the bodies of birds; there are bird skins on every table; and every spare foot of space is given over to the lithographic presses and the hand-colouring."
Transferred from the Liverpool Royal Institution Library, 1894.
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