London: Thomas Bosworth, 1854. Hardcover. [vi], 54pp, plus the 12 guarded plates. Each chromolithograph is followed by poems by various authors celebrating the species depicted. In intensely coloured roundels of about 6cms diameter, within a gilt circle, Wolf's illustrations vividly depict birds in their natural setting. Set within a wreath of gilt foliage, they are quite small on the page, but looked at closely, each is an exquisite porthole into the avian world. The page surface is, in some cases, slightly soiled: and a few of the plate pages are afflicted with the foxing often associated with this title, affecting chiefly the reverse, blank, side: most notably, the frontis (the House Sparrow), and to a lesser extent the Woodpecker and the Wagtail plates. The text pages are generally clean, with a few mild soil marks. Original cream endpapers, repaired to the gutter, with an armorial bookplate to the pastedown. All edges gilt. Quarto, 26x18cms, in the original binding of lightly-ribbed red cloth, decorated and titled in gilt to the upper board; the spine is rubbed, and a 2.5cm chip to its lower part has been made good, as have been the spine extremities. A very good copy. *[nb: This book should be handled carefully, and not opened further than 120°. Issued with a gutta-percha binding, it has been recased. As the pages are turned, the stiff card plates put a strain on the new fixing as they do not readily flex. If the book is opened flat, the binding is likely to be compromised.]. VG. Item #18549110
(Photographs of all the plates can be seen at chapelbooks.com).