Smith (Andrew)

ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE ZOOLOGY OF SOUTH AFRICA; (Rare in the original 28 parts)

consisting chiefly of figures and descriptions of the objects of natural history collected during an expedition to the interior of South Africa 1834, 1835, and 1836; fitted out by "The Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa": together with A Summary of African Zoology, and an inquiry into the geographical ranges of species in that quarter of the globe

Published: Smith Elder and Co., London, 1838-1849

Edition: First Edition

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By Andrew Smith, M.D., Surgeon to the Forces, and Director of the Expedition

Published under the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury

 275 lithographic and 4 engraved plates by George Ford, 267 hand-coloured, some heightened with gum arabic, comprising: Mammalia, 52 plates; Aves, 114 plates - plate 6 a hand-coloured aquatint and 113 are hand coloured lithographs); Reptilia, 78 plates - 75 hand coloured; Pisces, 31 plates - 26 hand coloured; Invertebratae, all bound in the original card wrappers with brown cloth backs some of which are slightly faded. There is a tear across the text page of plate 10 in part XIII, Bucephalus Capensis, and a signature - Mrs Wigglesworth - at the top corners of the upper covers of parts XI-XVII, XX-XXII and XXIV-XXVI.

 Also included are duplicate wrappers for parts IV and V containing a selection of 52 of the plates of birds and mammals. They are loose and all are uncoloured. Some are proofs before letters with titles in pencil.  Several are stained and with small tears.

 The final part, no.XXVIII, contains the five title pages (with the Preface, list of members of members of the Association for the Exploring of Central Africa and indexes) to be included when the complete work was bound - Mammalia, Aves, Reptilia, Pisces and Invertebratae.

 Overall a fine set, rare in the original parts.

 In the Preface Smith writes, ‘“The Cape of Good Hope Association for Exploring Central Africa,” which was established in Cape Town in 1833, found itself (on the return from the interior, in December 1836, of an expedition which it had despatched eighteen months before) in possession of an extensive and varied collection of objects of Natural History, many of which were new to science, and many others, though not new, comparatively little known. The Society, mindful of its original object,— the promotion of knowledge,— immediately resolved that descriptions and figures of the new and other objects of particular interest should, if possible, be published ; the more especially as beautiful representations of all had been made by Mr. Ford, from specimens either living or recently dead.......All the illustrations, with a few exceptions, have been executed by Mr. Ford, who, it has already been stated, made the drawings; and I feel confident that purchasers will not regret his having been selected. A cursory survey of the plates will, I think, convince anyone that they are the production of a master’s hand — a hand that depicts nature so closely as to render the representation nearly, if not equally, as valuable as the actual specimen. In describing colours, I have almost invariably had reference to the little but useful work of Mr. Syine, of Edinburgh,* and always employed his * “Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours.” Second Edition, 1821.’

 In Africana Notes and News, Volume II, Number I, December 1944, pages 2 - 14, Percival Kirby (who edited Andrew Smith’s Diary, Van Riebeeck Society, first series, volumes 20 & 21, 1939 & 1940 and later wrote his biography: Sir Andrew Smith M.D., K.C.B.His Life, Letters and Works, Cape Town 1965) describes in minute detail the origins andpublication of Smith's Zoology and all the individual parts. It is the essential reference source.

 Mendelssohn (Sydney) South African Bibliography, Volume 2, page 328, ‘This handsome and valuable work gives full particulars of the natural history subjects of South Africa, collected by Dr. Andrew Smith's expedition in the country lying between 25° and 27° 58' east longitude and 31° and 23° 28' south latitude, embracing part of the Cape Colony, Natal, and " Kafirland." The illustrations, which are of a very high order, were  executed by Mr. George Ford, who accompanied the expedition, and  consist of five plain and 273 coloured plates, while the letterpress is of a most accurate and exhaustive character. Part of the expense of the publication was defrayed by the British Government, in order that  the work " might be sold at a price which would place it within the reach of the generality of naturalists." The plates were published in five divisions, " numbered independently, and the letterpress descriptions left unpaged, in order that they may be arranged according to the particular view of purchasers. An index to each division is given." In consequence of this arrangement this work is sometimes bound in three volumes and sometimes in four.’

  • Overall Condition: A very good copy
  • Size: 4to (315 x 250 mm)
  • Name: Clarke's Africana & Rare Books
  • Contact Person: Paul Mills
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 021 794 0600
  • Preferred Payment Methods: Visa & Mastercard via PayGate secure links and Bank transfers.
  • Trade Associations: ABA - ILAB, SABDA


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