Philadelphia: J. & T. Doughty, 1830. First edition. Hardcover. Very good. Item #18310
First edition. Volume I. 4to. vii,,298,;pp., plus 24 hand-colored lithographic plates, and uncolored engraved portrait of Charles Willson Peale. Engraved title page. Contemporary calf boards, rebacked to style in matching leather, and with the original spine laid-in. Text is brown and spotted, the plates less so with very good coloring. Several pages have been expertly remargined at the fore edge (no loss) else this is a very good copy. Gift inscription on the front free endpaper dated 1832. Very rare and among the first American books to be illustrated with lithographic plates. The Cabinet of Natural History was started by brothers Thomas and John Doughty in Philadelphia. It was issued in monthly parts and ran from the end of 1830 until the spring of 1834 However, despite its relatively short life, it left behind an important legacy: Bennett calls it the "first major sport print color plate book produced in America," the text includes firsthand accounts of hunting expeditions of all kinds and are among the earliest of their kind. The plates include the "first colored sporting prints made in America" (Henderson), and most importantly the work includes a significant number of original lithographs by one of the great names in 19th-century American art. The first volume (made up of twelve parts ) was certainly the work of both Doughty brothers, with virtually all the plates being the work of Thomas. "Artistically, Vol. 1 is much the most important, for it contains the original plates by Thos. Doughty, famous painter and founding father of the Hudson River School" - Bennett. Indeed the plates in the later volumes are from a multitude of hands and sources. "The coloured plates are important - being the first coloured sporting prints made in America. There is only one earlier American book with coloured plates that I know of, and that is a treatise on Medical Botany - published in Philadelphia in 1817. Many of these coloured plates of animals and birds are charming, the colouring is soft, correct as to details, and all are well drawn" - Gee.