Antiquarian Auctions

SA Auction #106 begins on 13 Apr 2023

US Auction #15 begins on 03 May 2023

Andrew Smith


Published: Smith, Elder & Co., London, 1849

Edition: 1st.

Lot closed

Sold for: Register or Sign In to find out

Bids: 18

Visits: 207

Have a similar item to sell? Contact Us with the details.

How it works


A magnificent copy of the scarce first edition of this wonderful book with 114 fine hand coloured plates after George Henry Ford. Arguably the most lavish and desirable of the five volumes of Andrew Smith's fine work and one of the great bird books of the world. 1849. Smith, Elder & Co. 4to. Unpaginated, but each of the 114 plates has an opposing page of descriptive letterpress, with tissue guards. Bound in later half morocco and marbled boards. The spine has five raised bands creating six compartments with gilt and blind tooling and titles.

Condition. The title page has minimal marginal discolouration but otherwise, both internally and externally, this is a fine copy, without foxing, of this major work.

This work was originally issued in 28 parts between 1838 and 1849, and described by Mendelssohn as a 'handsome and valuable work' giving 'full particulars of the natural history subjects of South Africa collected by Dr. Andrew Smith's expedition' with illustrations by George Ford 'of a very high order.' - Mendelssohn II, p.327; Fine Bird Books, p.143; Nissen ZBI 3868 & IVB 880; Zimmer p.593;SABIB Vol. 4, p.230.

Sir Andrew Smith KCB (3 December 1797 – 11 August 1872) was a Scottish surgeon, explorer, ethnologist and zoologist. He is considered the father of zoology in South Africa having described many species across a wide range of groups in his major work, Illustrations of the Zoology of South Africa.

Smith met the young geologist Charles Darwin when the second voyage of the Beagle touched at the Cape in May 1836, and showed him slate rock formations. He also gave Darwin some rock samples he had collected the year before. These are now held by the Sedgwick Museum of Earth Sciences. Darwin and Smith corresponded about how the large animals in South Africa lived on sparse vegetation, showing that a lack of luxuriant vegetation did not explain the extinction of the giant creatures whose fossils Darwin had found in South America. Darwin frequently mentioned Smith in his writings, and sponsored him to gain membership of the Royal Society in 1857.

Please note that this is a very heavy book and shipping outside of South Africa will be expensive. Smith, Elder & Co.       

  • Binding Condition: Fine
  • Overall Condition: Fine
  • Size: 4to.
  • Sold By: Ronald Levine - Modern First Editions
  • Contact Person: Ronald Levine
  • Country: South Africa
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Telephone: 011643 8437
  • Preferred Payment Methods: EFT for S.African customers and Internation Bank Tranfer for customers abroad. I am unable to accept payment by credit card.
  • Trade Associations: SABDA

© 2023 Paul Mills trading as All rights reserved. Use of this website is regulated by our website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.