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Alexander Anderson has long been considered the father of wood engraving in America, being the first in this country to adopt the technique developed in England by Thomas Bewick. Wood engraving produces a finer image than the standard woodcut by working on the denser end-grain section of the wood. Anderson acknowledged his debt to Bewick in 1804 by creating an American edition of Bewick’s A General History of Quadrupeds (1790) with his own re-engraved blocks, adding “some American animals not hitherto described.” A General History of Quadrupeds was really the result of an increasing popular interest in natural history towards the end of the 18th century. Evidence of this interest can be seen by other notable publications at the time such as Gilbert Whiteís Natural History of Selborne (1789) and the wonderful works of Thomas Pennant, whose own General History of Quadrupeds in two volumes, illustrated with fine copper engravings, had first appeared in 1781.

Description: Hard bound in full leather. Stated “First American edition, with an appendix containing some American Animals not hitherto described”. Printed by G. & R Waite, No. 64, Maiden – Lane. 1804.  531 pages with hundreds of woodcuts by Anderson. Wear and deterioration to leather. Front board detached, but present. Missing front free end pages to title page. Minor foxing throughout. Head and tail chipped, with text block and binding tight. A scarce copy of a classic of natural history, and wood block illustration.

Bookseller Inventory # 24322

SOLD

A General History of Quadrupeds:
The Figures Engraved on Wood, Chiefly Copied from
the Original of T. Bewick, By A. Anderson
Anderson, A.

Publication Date: 1804
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fair
Edition: First America

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