This fine volume features 34 hand-colored lithographs and is Henry Eeles Dresser’s A Monograph of the Meropidae, or Family of Bee-Eaters. This first edition was published in London by the author between 1884 and 1886. The beautiful lithography was completed by John Gerard Keulemans. The work was sold by subscription only and it is believed only 250 copies may have been printed. The volume is bound in early red half morocco with marbled boards.
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. According to Jackson (Bird Illustrators, p. 90) The great value of Keulemans’ work as an ornithological draughtsman lay in his sureness of design of the plate and his accuracy in portraying the birds themselves. The bird figures were carefully drawn and executed down to the last scales on the feet. The feathering was neatly delineated with the different plumes receiving sympathetic treatment.
Dresser was a leading figure in ornithological circles: he was elected a Member of the British Ornithologists Union in 1865 and served as its secretary from 1882 to 1888. He was a member and fellow of the Linnean and Zoological societies of London and an honorary fellow of the American Ornithologists Union. Meropidae was one of the three major monographs published by Dresser.