Antiquarian Auctions

Auction #72 begins on
24 Jan 2019 16:30 GMT

Nicoll (Michael John)


Published: Government Press, Cairo, 1919

Reserve: $50


Estimate: $60/70

Bidding opens: 24 Jan 16:30 GMT

Bidding closes: 31 Jan 16:30 GMT

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119 pages, frontispiece – folding map to illustrate the handlist, 31 plates of which 8 are coloured, quarter red simulated leather with red cloth boards, typed title label pasted on spine, bookplate on front paste-down endpaper, a good copy.

Ministry of Public Works, Egypt. Zoological Service. Publication no. 29

A note at the head of the half title pages reads, ‘Meinertzhagen says this book is full of mistakes but was put out by Nicoll with the idea of calling forth criticisms.’ With an unidentified signature dated Cairo 1938.

Obituary: Michael John Nicoll published on 1 January 1926: With the death of Michael John Nicoll at the age of 45, on October 31st last, there passed prematurely away one of the best known of the younger school of British ornithologists. At a very early age his innate love of natural history began to show itself, and it was during these early years that he began the study of British birds and to form a collection of skins. In the course of time this collection grew to a considerable size, all the birds being shot and skinned by himself and nearly all obtained in Sussex.

In 1906 Nicoll obtained an appointment under the Egyptian Government as second in charge of the Zoological Gardens at Giza, of which Capt. S. S. Flower was Director. Here, with the exception of the usual intervals of leave, he spent practically the rest of his life in a congenial occupation with abundant opportunities for the advancement of the science which he had made his life's work. In the intervals of the routine work he devoted his energies to the formation of a representative collection of the birds of Egypt, which, when he left, amounted to some 4,000 skins, arranged by him in the museum attached to the gardens. So long as it remains it will form a monument to Nicoll's industry, skill and devotion.

He proposed to make it the foundation of an exhaustive work on the birds of Egypt and as a stepping stone he brought out in 1919, under the auspices of the Government Zoological Service, a small handbook, designed for the guidance of such visitors to Egypt as are interested in the birds of the country. The more scientific side of his work on Egypt's birds is embodied in his "Contributions to the Ornithology of Egypt" that appeared in the Ibis; in 1908 on the "Birds of Lake Menzaleh; in 1909 on the "Birds of the Province of Giza" (3 parts), and in 1912 on the "Birds of the Wady Natron."

He was also the author or joint author of several special reports in the publications of the Egyptian Zoological Service, notably the "Wild Birds of the Giza Gardens" (publication 23), as well as in the Cairo Scientific Journal, the Avicultural Magazine and numerous notes in the Bulletin of the B.O.C. He left much material in a forward state towards his more ambitious work on the birds of Egypt and it is to be hoped that it may be possible for this to be continued by other hands. Loved so well. Gifted with a keen eyesight and a musical ear, both of which he trained from early life and kept in constant practice, Nicoll was a quite unusually good observer and in consequence had a wonderful, and at times almost uncanny, facility for the recognition of unusual birds in the field. Possessed of a keen sense of humour, he was always a delightful companion, his keenness, knowledge and skill both as field naturalist and museum worker ensured him a high place amongst ornithologists of the day, while his kindly unselfishness, straightness of character and staunchness were the outstanding qualities that will be sorely missed by the numerous friends he has left behind him.

  • Overall Condition: A Good Copy
  • Size: 8vo (240 x 170 mm)

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