CATLIN, GEORGE. 1796-1872.
[North American Indian Portfolio: Hunting Scenes and Amusements of the Rocky Mountains and Prairies of America. London: Chatto & Windus, 1875 or 1877.]
Folio (590 x 425 mm). 31 tinted lithographed plates by Day & Haghe after Catlin and McGahey. Modern red morocco-backed marbled paper-covered boards, titled in gilt on the spine. Modern morocco-backed cloth box. Lacking the title and contents leaf (as usual), some toning to margins, occasional light spotting or soiling, some small cracks or splits to some inner blank margins, binding fine, box with splits and some light scuffing.
THE MAGNIFICENT SUITE OF PLATES FROM THE RARE 31-PLATE ISSUE OF CATLIN'S MASTERPIECE, one of only 350 copies printed, with six added unnumbered plates following the twenty-five originally issued. Catlin's Portfolio was issued with both uncolored tinted and hand-colored plates, but due to pervasive modern coloring, complete sets of the original tinted plates are increasingly rare. "These beautiful scenes in Indian life are probably the most truthful ever presented to the public" (Field). Catlin spent eight years living amongst the various Native American tribes. He writes, "The history and customs of such a people, preserved by pictorial illustrations, are themes worthy the lifetime of one man, and nothing short of the loss of my life shall prevent me from visiting their country and becoming their historian." Catlin's publishing ambitions proved to be over-ambitious, and he quite quickly had to cede the rights to his work to Henry Bohn. The present edition of Catlin's work includes six rare unnumbered lithographs not found in earlier editions, comprising two portraits, a group portrait of Ojibways, two tribal dance scenes, and a hunting scene. These six plates were evidently executed in the 1840s as part of Catlin's unfulfilled plan for a series of Indian Portfolios, but they were not printed and issued until Chatto & Windus acquired the copyright to the North America Indian Portfolio in 1875. "The appearance of the plates in the thirty-one plate issue is distinctively different from any of the twenty-five plate versions. The background tints are much heavier, making the tones far darker and giving the plates a much more orange-yellow appearance than the twenty-five plate versions" (Reese). Bennett 22; Field 258; Howes C243; Reese The Production of Catlin's North American Indian Portfolio issue III:10; Reese Stamped with a National Character 25; Wagner-Camp 105a:2.