Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]. Gregory M. MATHEWS.
Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]
Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]
Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]
Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]

Birds. Special Collection. Hand-coloured Lithographs prepared for Gregory M. Mathews, c.1936 [cover title]

Canberra, National Library of Australia, 1990.

240 × 345 mm, a portfolio containing a 4-page introduction (one bifolium) by John Calaby, an index leaf (verso blank) and 9 loose hand-coloured lithographs.

Cloth portfolio with a colour pictorial leather title-label; some of the acid-free tissue inserts between the plates and one internal flap of the portfolio lightly creased; essentially in fine condition.

Eight of the plates were originally commissioned by Mathews for his 'Supplement to the Birds of Norfolk & Lord Howe Islands ...' (1936); they are by Henrik Groenvold or Frederick William Frohawk. The ninth plate, the little penguin, Eudyptula minor, was never published by Mathews. A hand-coloured lithograph, it is 'a copy of a watercolour drawing by the convict artist Thomas Watling who would have drawn the penguin at Port Jackson in the early 1790s'. The introductory essay explains why it is included in the portfolio. The original four-page prospectus, with all nine plates illustrated, is loosely inserted, along with a typed letter signed by the Warren Horton, the Director-General of the National Library of Australia, dated 12 November 1990. It is a personalised invitation to purchase this 'collector's portfolio' for $500; 'Orders will be processed as received for the first 120 respondents with a strict limit of one set per person'. Neither the prospectus nor the essay mention this extremely small edition number, but both contain other interesting bibliographic details. The plates 'were surplus to the original [1936] published edition and remained in the hands of the Mathews family until they were given to the National Library by Mathews' son. It was his intention that the Library should sell them in order to promote the Mathews collection and to allow others the pleasure of owning fine examples of an art which is rarely practised today'.

Item #108726

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