London, The Author, 1880.
Large quarto, three parts bound as two volumes, xlvi, [iv] (list of subscribers), 692 and 693-1237 pages with 11 in-text woodcuts plus a full-page line illustration, a full-page hand-coloured map, and 34 full-page hand-coloured lithographs by Keulemans. Subscribers accounted for 247 copies.
Contemporary half morocco and marbled papered boards, top edges gilt, marbled endpapers; covers a little worn at the extremities, with the joints cracked (but very firm, with the inner hinges expertly reinforced with cloth); bottom corners a little bumped (with mild associated creasing to the corner tips of the textblocks); small inkmark to the leading edge of the second volume; inner surfaces of the free endpapers and the adjacent leaves foxed, with occasional foxing elsewhere; mild signs of use and age; a very good set (internally excellent).
Tasmanian-born William Vincent Legge (1841-1918), soldier and scientist, was stationed in Ceylon from 1868 to 1877, when the material for this important work was gathered. After his return to Tasmania in 1883, he retained a strong interest in natural history, being a founder and president of the Australasian Ornithologists' Union. Provenance: Thomas Littleton Powys, 4th Baron Lilford (1833-1896), British aristocrat and ornithologist, one of the original subscribers (with his crest stamped in gilt at the foot of each spine); with the later pictorial bookplate of ornithological author Peter Tate in each volume. [2 items].