[Merops apiaster - European Bee Eater.]
[London: John Gould, 1863-73.]
Lithograph with exceptional original hand colour. Image 440 x 340mm (17¼ x 13½"). Trimmed at bottom, losing title and inscriptions.
European Bee Eaters, which occasionally breed in southern England, but usually migrate between equatorial countries and southern Europe. They nest in colonies, as shown here. The print was published in John Gould's monumental ornithological book, 'The Birds of Great Britain', which was issued in parts between 1863 and 1873. The quality of the hand colouring is superb, something Gould stressed: in the introduction to this work he wrote 'every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought’.
[Ref: 29183] £400.00