Timeless Tales Rare Books

Timeless Tales Rare Books

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A General Synopsis of Birds


About this Book

Complete 18th-century 9 volume set of the First Edition of John Latham’s monumental work on scientific cataloging of birds, all illustrations hand-colored plate engravings in bright and vivid colors, including the 3-volume General Synopsis (1781-1785) bound in six, Supplement to the General Synopsis (1787, Leigh and Sotheby in one volume), and 2-volume Index Ornithologicus (1790).

The books are handsomely bound in full contemporary tan leather with gilt ruled boards, morocco spine labels, gilt lettering and decoration to spines.

A later supplement accompanying this 9-volume set was published in two volumes in 1801 and this compilation was republished later in 1821 as General History of Birds. The 1790 volumes of Index Ornithologicus present in this set is where Latham specified a binomial name for all the species which he had previously described. However, it was too late, as Johann Friedrich Gmelin had already published his own version of Linnaeus’ Systema Naturæ in which he gave a scientific name to Latham’s species; taking into account the rules of nomenclature, Gmelin has priority. Nevertheless, there are around eighty bird species for which Latham’s 1790 publication is cited as the authority.

Latham is widely regarded as the grandfather of Australian ornithology and one of the greatest naturalists ever!

Bibliographic Details

Title: A General Synopsis of Birds

Publisher: Printed for Benjamin White, London, 1781-1790

Publication Date: 1781-1790

Binding: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition


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A General Synopsis of Birds