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This color chromolithograph is from Sir Walter Lawry Buller’s work A History of the Birds of New Zealand. The print available is from the second and enlarged edition published in London in 1905. It is perhaps one of the most underrated 19th century color plate bird works. John Gerard Keulemans illustrated the plates. Buller’s work managed to record many of the country’s native birds before they died out.
Walter Buller was the son of a missionary and born in New Zealand in 1838. Buller exchibited “… a confidence unusual in colonial scientists he set out to describe and name new species of birds himself rather than submitting them to the metropolitan authorities. His Essay on the Ornithology of New Zealand, written for the Dunedin Exhibition in 1865, established him as a local authority on the subject, and, after he sent copies to influential scientists in Britain and Europe, also brought him to wider attention. In 1871 he used the Essay to obtain the degree of doctor of natural history from the University of Tübingen. By this time he had assembled the materials for a comprehensive work, and obtained leave to go to London to publish it. A History of the Birds of New Zealand