SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.  Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.

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Lot 211
SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.
Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.

Sold for US$ 275,075 inc. premium
SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.
Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.
Manuscript ornithological manuscript on paper, 4 volumes. Small folio (282 x 222 mm). 301 original watercolor drawings by Smith with manuscript explanatory text and introduction, 2 additional lithographic plates of birds by Smith and Sir Charles D'Oyly, lithographic title pages by D'Oyly, lithographic title labels mounted throughout. Contemporary half calf, gilt titles on spines. Rubbed, joints and hinges repaired, Volume IV upper joint cracked, minor spotting.
Provenance: Christopher Webb Smith (the author); H. Bradley Martin (bookplates; his sale, Sotheby's New York, June 7, 1989, lot 209).

A FINE SERIES OF INDIAN BIRD DRAWINGS FORMING THE ORIGINAL UNPUBLISHED MANUSCRIPT MAQUETTE for Smith's Magnum Opus on Indian Bird life. This is one of the earliest collections of western bird drawings drawn in India, and a foundation text on the depiction and study of the subject. This early Indian bird manuscript became the source for the three collaborative works published in Patna, with Sir Charles D'Oyly (1781-1845), at the Behar Lithographic Press; The Feathered Game of Hindostan, 1828, 12 plates, Indian Dead Game, 1830, 6 plates, and Oriental Ornithology, 1829, 24 plates.

The two additional lithographic plates were certainly produced by the Behar Lithographic Press, but do not appear to have been included in their published 3 works, and these and the headers and titles may well be some of the first attempts in lithographical printing at the Press.
Both Smith and D'Oyly were in Patna with the Bengal Civil Service, Smith was a judge and magistrate of the city court and lived in Arrah, 40 miles from Patna, residing there from 1827-37. Sir Charles D'Oyly, a career Bengal civil servant, was resident in Patna 1821-1831, first as the opium agent in Behar, and later as the commercial resident of Patna. They met and became firm friends, probably bonding over their interest in natural history. These volumes contain the original watercolors of the birds that Smith saw, sketched and painted in the wild, during the years 1837 and 1838. In the preface Smith states that "not a single illustration has been drawn from any other work, but has been sketched from the subject and the history of each subject composed from personal observations....". In their published collaborative work Smith drew the birds, and D'Oyly the backgrounds.

Smith continued his collaboration with D'Oyly after he left Bengal for the Cape in 1837 due to health reasons; D'Oyly who had retired in 1838, met up with Smith and together they produced The Birds, Flowers, and Scenery of the Cape, a work unfortunately never published.
Contacts
SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.  Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.
SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.  Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.
SMITH, CHRISTOPHER WEBB. 1793-1871.  Indian Ornithology. [Patna, India]: dated 1828.
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