Monday, February 8, 2010

Crimson-crested Woodpeckers


This beautiful illustration of a female Crimson-crested Woodpecker (upper left) and one male comes from the four-volume Monographie des picidées (1859-1862), French ornithologist Alfred Malherbe (1804 -1865) (or 1804-1866?).  I believe the bird on the lower left is a juvenile female.  Describing every known species of woodpecker, the monograph was printed in 100 (or 120?) copies and accompanied by hand-colored lithographs.  No surprise, the Wikipedia entry on Alfred Malherbe in French at this link contains more information than the English entry.

A bit more information about this work appears at Zoonomen.net at this link and also see a very detailed mention of it in The Ibis, A Magazine of General Ornithology, Vol. I, 1859
at this link
.  (You'll want to search for "Malherbe" using your browser if you visit the above two pages).

As for the price of Malherbe's magnificent work, a Google books scan of American Book-Prices Current, Volume 13 lists the 4 volumes with 121 colored plates at a mere $46.


Flash forward to November 11, 1992 and the work sold for $12,482 at Christie's, according to this link here!

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