A History of the Birds of New Zealand.
Notice of the New Edition
Notice of the New Edition.
The success which attended the Author’s first edition of ‘The Birds of New Zealand’ (published in 1873, and containing comparatively few illustrations) has induced him to enter upon a more ambitious undertaking. Limited as that was to an impression of 500 copies, the whole edition was privately subscribed for; and the drawings on the stones, from which Mr. Keulemans had produced the inimitable Plates, were then erased. Published at Five Guineas, the price rapidly rose till, in a few years, a copy fetched £20 at public auction in New Zealand; then £21 in London (at the sale of Sir William Jardine’s library); and, finally, in Melbourne, the extraordinary price of £37 10s. Even within the last few months, with the new edition well in progress, a second-hand copy reached £26 at Mr. Sotheby’s sale-rooms.
The interval of thirteen years since elapsed has been spent by the Author in New Zealand, where he has enjoyed exceptional opportunities for obtaining fresh specimens and extending his knowledge of this remarkable avifauna.
This work will be issued in Thirteen Parts (to Subscribers only) at the price of One Guinea each, or Twelve Guineas for the whole if paid in advance.
Each part (except the last) will contain facsimiles of four beautiful coloured drawings by Mr. Keulemans, the birds being represented as they appear in life, with accessories drawn from the native flora of the country. These will be highly finished pictures in the best style of modern art, all the colour-stones being drawn either by or under the immediate direction of Mr. Keulemans himself. Specimens of these Plates, exhibited at the last Soirée of the Royal Society, were pronounced by ‘The Times’ reviewer “absolutely perfect.”
A figure will be given of every form peculiar to New Zealand; and the enlarged size (Imperial page x Quarto) will enable the artist to group the sexes or allied species together wherever it may be found desirable.
The final Part will contain a General Introduction, profusely illustrated with woodcuts, the List of Subscribers, and a complete Index to the whole work.
London, September 30, 1887.
Extracts from Professor Newton’s Address to the Biological Section of the British Association (Manchester, 1887).
“When on a former occasion (at Glasgow in 1876) I had the honour of addressing a Department of this Section, I pointed out the enormous changes that were swiftly and inevitably coming upon the fauna of many of our colonies. The fears I then expressed have been fully realized. I am told by Sir Walter Buller that in New Zealand one may now live for weeks and months without seeing a single example of its indigenous birds, all of which, in the more settled districts, have been supplanted by the aliens that have been imported; while further inland these last are daily extending their range at the cost of the endemic forms. A letter I have lately received from Sir James Hector wholly confirms this statement, and I would ask you to bear in mind that these indigenous species are, with scarcely an exception, peculiar to that country, and, from every scientific point of view, of the most instructive character. They supply a link with the past that once lost can never be recovered. It is therefore incumbent upon us to know all we can about them before they vanish…… The forms that we are allowing to be killed off, being almost without exception ancient forms, are just those that will teach us more of the way in which life has spread over the globe than any other recent forms; and for the sake of posterity, as well as to escape its reproach, we ought to learn all we can about them before they go hence and are no more seen…… One thing to guard against is the presumption that the fauna originated within its present area, and has been always contained therein. Thus, I take it, that the fauna which characterizes the New-Zealand Region—for I follow Professor Huxley in holding that a Region it is fully entitled to be called—is the comparatively-little changed relic and representative of an early fauna of much wider range.”