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This hand-colored lithograph is A Monograph of the Lories, or Brush-tongued Parrots. The work was authored by St. George Jackson Mivart and the celebrated John Gerrard Keulemans provided the images. This first edition, first issue was published in London by R. H. Porter in 1896.
Keulemans is one of the most respected bird artists whose images were noted for their fine detail. He contributed to some of the best known ornithological works including those of Elliot, Buller, Dresser, and The Ibis.
A Monograph of the Lories, according to Sacheverell Sitwell (writing in Fine Birds Books), included Keulemans ‘best work’. The artist shows a masterful grasp of composition, balancing the need to show the birds in characteristic pose, whilst giving the maximum amount of information about the beautiful plummage that is so typical of the Loriidae family, but without losing sight of the importance of retaining the harmony of the image as a whole.
The author, Mivart, describes the Loriidae family as ‘a very attractive group of rather small birds’ varying ‘from the size of a Turtle-Dove to about that of a Sparrow’, and consisting ‘of 75 more or less distinct species. The family is remarkable for its brilliancy and gay coloration’, and its friendliness: ‘Some of them will spontaneously approach human dwellings, and most of them make excellent pets’. Their feeding habits are a special feature: ‘The lories are very choice feeders, living as they do on the nectars and pollen of flowers. Their tongue is very remarkable, as it is formed as a kind of brush, which is no doubt destined to extract the nectar’.
Cf. Fine Bird Books (1990) p.94; cf.T.Keulemans & J.Coldewey. Feathers to Brush p.64; cf.Nissen IVB 640; cf.Wood p.468; cf.Zimmer p.439