Date of Printing: 1871 • Medium: Lithograph (hand colored) • Subject Category: Natural History - Birds • Signed: Plate signed, Lower Left • Period Created: Romantic (1800 - 1899) • Plate Size HxWxD cm: N/A • Leaf Paper Size HxW cm: 24.7 x 31.5 • Style: FOLIO Original Vintage • Print on Verso: Blank on verso • Condition: Excellent, with minor toning at edges, some spotting • Edition Type: 1st Edition - Limited • Paper Type: Woven • Framed: Print only: A stunningly beautiful lithographic print, meticulously hand colored, of a group of Sparrow Hawks. Highlights have been applied with some touches of gum arabic. The artist is John Gerrard Keulemans and the print is from Henry Eeles Dresser's "A history of the birds of Europe, including all the species inhabiting the western palaearctic region." Dresser's encyclopedic work was published in 8 volumes in 84 parts, from 1871 to 1882, known as the "Royal Quarto."
A history of the birds of Europe was an exhaustive review of the avifauna of the Palearctic region, including the whole of Europe to the Urals and Caucasus ranges in Russia, as well as Asia Minor and the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa. Keulemans contributed more colored plates (about 673 of the 723 issued for all volumes, including the Supplement) for this series than for any of his other monographs or journal publications.
Henry Eeles Dresser (1838-1915) began publishing the parts in 1871, with the eighth volume being issued in 1882 (though some sources cite the previous year as the year of publication for this). The extent to which Dresser provided his descriptions is remarkable; some six pages were devoted to an entry on the accidental American form of hawk owl.
Richard Bowdler Sharpe assisted the author until publication of part 13, though he was still credited for his contributions up to the publication of part 17. Part of the synopses was evaluated by Lord Walden (Marquis of Tweeddale). No plates were included in the first volume (an index), but overall, Birds of Europe included 634 of them, and Keulemans was the cheif artist. Joseph Wolf, William Matthew Hart, Edward Neale, and Joseph Smit also contributed illustrations.
The print is in very nice condition and the colors are beautifully vibrant. There are binding marks at the bottom margin, not affecting the image and there is some very slight toning at the edges not affecting the image. Slight foxing (spottign), almost unnoticable.