KEULEMANS, Johann Gerard (1842-1912) - SHELLEY, George Ernest (1840-1910). A Handbook to the Birds of Egypt. London: John Van Voorst, 1872.
8vo., (9 2/8 x 6 inches). 14 FINE hand-coloured lithographs by Keulemans. Contemporary half tan calf, gilt, pink cloth (endleaves a bit spotted).
Provenance: The supra libros, engraved armorial bookplate of Sir James Lamont (1828-1913), 14th laird of Knockdow, on the front paste-down, and signature on the title-page.
First edition. Shelley, the nephew of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, made three trips to the Nile and many of the birds depicted here are illustrated for the first time by Keulemans who began his career as a taxidermist providing stuffed birds to the State Museum of Natural History at Leiden. The director of that museum encouraged Keulemans to pursue his love of natural history, where he obtained a scientific appointment after an expedition to West Africa in 1865 and 1866. His accomplishments in illustration came to the notice of Richard Bowdler Sharpe, later a director of the British Museum, who encouraged him to move to England. Keulemans quickly achieved wide recognition and established himself as the most popular bird artist of the late Victorian period. He regularly provided illustrations for "The Ibis" and "The Proceedings of the Zoological Society". He illustrated many important bird books including Buller's "A History of the Birds of New Zealand" (1873), Shelley's "Monograph of the Sun-Birds" (1876-1880), William Vincent Legge's "Birds of Ceylon" (1880), Daniel Giraud Elliot's "Monograph of the Hornbills" (1887-1892), Richard Bowdler Sharpe's "Monograph on Kingfishers" (1868-1871), Henry Seebohm's "Monograph on Thrushes" (1902), and Osbert Salvin's "Biologia Centrali-Americana" (1879-1904).
From the distinguished library of Sir James Lamont, who was a seasoned traveler: "Among the voyages undertaken by the late Sir James Lamont, Bart of Knockdow (a brief sketch of whose career was published yesterday), were visits to his river estate in Trinidad. Soon after succeeding to this estate, in 1850, he crossed the Cape to Trinidad in a coolie-ship, which was wrecked in the Boca de Monos, without loss of life. During the next few years he made three more voyages to the West Indies, as well as to the United States and Canada. He also visited Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. In 1858 7 1859, in his yacht Ginvera, a schooner of 142 tons, he made voyages to Spitzbergon, and in 1861 he published an account of his sporting adventures in northern seas under the title of "Season with the Sea-Horses". In 1869 Mr. Lamont built the Diana, a three-masted Schooner of 251 tons, with auxiliary steam, specially designed for Arctic travel, and in that year and the two following years he made further expeditions to the Polar seas. An account of these voyages appeared in 1876 under the title of "Yatching in the Artic Seas." Mr. Lamont made his last voyage to the West Indies in 1889" (Obituary "The Scotsman" Thursday 31st July 1913). Nisen IVB 872; Anker 469; Fine Bird Books, p.108; Wood, p.566; Zimmer, p.588.