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Thomas Caverhill Jerdon (British, 1811-1872) Mammals of India; a Natural History of all the Animals Known to Inhabit Continental India.

  • $ 1,200,000.00


Thomas Caverhill Jerdon (British, 1811-1872)
Mammals of India; a Natural History of all the Animals Known to Inhabit Continental India.
Roorkee: The Thomason College Press, 1867.
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8vo., (9 x 6 inches). Contemporary half black calf, marbled boards(extremities worn, joints weak). WITH AN EXTENSIVE COLLECTION OF ORIGINAL ARTWORK: 360 watercolors (9 x 6 inches), 105 pencil drawings, 190 proof engravings and lithographs (some hand-colored) and 11 photographs including studies of bats, rodents, whales, bears, cats, monkeys, apes, elephants, rhinoceroses and cattle, the majority annotated by the artist, interleaved with printed text leaves, some with penciled corrections. Loose in three modern cloth boxes.

THE UNPUBLISHED ORIGINAL ARTWORK FOR JERDON’S “THE MAMMALS OF INDIA”, with corrected page proofs. Jerdon, a keen ornithologist and naturalist, went to India as an Army medical officer with the East India Company in 1836. He corresponded with the naturalist William Jardine (1800-1874) on the ornithology of India and his scientific publications on the zoology of the subcontinent began in 1839. Lord Canning later granted him special leave to complete his major works on the vertebrata of India, “The Birds of India” (1862-64) and “The Mammals of India” (Roorkee, 1867). “His work, although valued for its keen observations, was marred by over-reliance on memory and unmethodical recording of detail; a similar lack of attention in domestic matters led to constant debt” (DNB); this indebtedness may be the reason why he was not able to fund the engraving of his artwork, which would have added greatly to the expense of the work, and consequently the artwork for his Mammals remained unpublished. Having contracted an illness in Assam, he returned to England in 1870 where he continued to work on his Reptiles of India (for which see the following lot) until his death in 1872.


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