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Parrots in Captivity. London: George Bell and Sons 1884-87 Octavo,

The original set has been sold. However, high quality pigmented (Giclée) modern reproduction Fine Art Prints of all 81 parrots is available. Please click here for information.

The entire collection of all 81 high- resolution images are available on CD. Please click here for information.

Three volumes - Each print measures approximately 6 3/4 inches wide by 9 3/4 inches long with generous margins. 81 color-printed wood-engraved plates (chromoxylographs) by; all plates are in excellent condition. Publisher’s blind stamped green cloth, spines gilt-lettered, macaw motif gilt-stamped on upper covers and blind stamped on lower covers, black-coated endpapers; minimal wear.


FIRST EDITION. A very fine set in a splendid publisher’s binding of the last book illustrated by Alexander Francis Lydon and Benjamin Fawcett—the inventor of chromoxylography (A chromoxylograph is an image printed in color from a wood block).The prints are hand finished.


William Thomas Greene was a popular author on cage birds, and this work on parrots, parakeets, lories. Cockatoos, and macaws were well received. A contemporary review in the Live Stock Journal remarked, "The artist and author combined gave the collector a fine idea of the characteristics of these birds". The first book devoted exclusively to parrots in captivity with an interesting anecdotal text and excellent illustrations. Most Australian parrots are described and figured, including rarities such as the Paradise Parrot (now extinct), Orange-bellied Parrot and Ground Parrot. REFERENCE: Ayer/Zimmer 274 Fine Bird Books 79; McGill/Wood 368; Nissen, IVB 393; Nissen SVB 215.

Benjamin Fawcett was one of the greatest color printers of the 19th century. He pioneered a system of wood block engraving from multiple wood blocks that resulted in vivid finely colored works such as this marvelous book. Other examples of this original printing technique are Couchs History of the Fishes of the British Islands and Houghtons British Fresh Water Fishes. Fawcett had an association of some 50 years with Francis Orpen Morris to produce many beautiful works on birds, including the highly successful A History of British Birds. Greenes Parrots in Captivity is an authoritative and studious work of the time and is probably the original how to books on raising parrots in captivity. It is full of extensive notes on the feeding and successful rearing of each bird according to the philosophy of the day. The illustrations are very vivid, beautifully colored wood engravings and are among the finest of all the illustrations of parrots from this period. In the words of the author, this work was an "attempt in the direction of familiarizing the public with a most delightful class of birds" Reference: Fine Bird Books 1990, p103.
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