An original edition with 18 lithographs by John's talented artist wife Elizabeth. Features “figures and descriptions of new and interesting species of birds from various parts of the globe."
This is John Gould's seventh major publication and was issued just before he and wife Elizabeth and some members of the family sailed for Australia on 16 May 1838, returning to England on 18 August 1840. It includes 18 hand-coloured lithographic plates at imperial folio size.
Originally intended by John Gould as the start of a new General History of Birds - "a most laborius (sic) undertaking" (Gould to Sir William Jardine 1836) - the plates were issued initially in 1837 with Part 2 completed in August 1838 after the Goulds had left for Australia. Issued in two parts of ten and eight plates, John Gould had intended that Icones Avium be "always a work in progress" (to Lord Derby 1848) but never got beyond the 18 plates originally issued.
Elizabeth's special skill was recognised at this time - "The plates we have seen are lithographic, drawn by Mrs Gould and beautifully executed." (The Magazine of Zoology and Botany 1:108-109, 1837 author thought to be Jardine).
Double sized fold out plate - very rare among Gould's publications
Note: The RGSSA copy is missing the title pages and stamped on the cover is only "Gould's Birds". In the rear are bound 21 plates of Partridges of America.