Folio Society publishes A History of British Birds


  • Introduced by Jenny Uglow.
  • 2 volumes.
  • Quarter-bound in leather with paper sides.
  • Hand-marbled by Jemma Lewis.
  • Coloured top edges.
  • Set in Bulmer.
  • 912 pages in total.
  • Approx. 500 illustrations.
  • 8¾” x 5¾”.
  • Price: £120

A History of British Birds – A pioneering classic of British ornithology and art

First published in two separate volumes between 1797 and 1804, Thomas Bewick’s A History of British Birds was the first field guide to appear in Britain. Unlike the massive folios that preceded it, this lively work was intended to sit in a capacious coat pocket, so that the novice ornithologist could use it to check the feathered legs of a barn owl or distinguish between a shrike and a woodchat. It is a serious guide, written with a countryman’s understanding of nature and a scholar’s knowledge of classifications. For his engravings, Bewick used many sources, but he preferred to draw from life, complaining how many errors there were in previous books, and how stiff the illustrations copied from stuffed specimens appeared. Indeed, the accuracy and detail of Bewick’s observations stand up well today.

The only complete edition now in print

This edition is quarter-bound in blue leather with traditional raised bands on the spine and hand-marbled paper sides, modelled after fine 18th-century bindings. The type has been reset using the 1826 edition which was the final edition printed during Bewick’s lifetime and revised by him in person.

Read more at the Folio Society website here.

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About Faisel K

Lost faith, went to law school, then to Japan, became a Buddhist, blah, blah, blah. Read More?
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