JOHN GOULD AND GEORGE SAVILE FOLJAMBE
The natural history collections at Osberton Hall were already well established by the time George Savile Foljambe succeeded his grandfather in 1814. Francis Ferrand Foljambe had a formidable reputation as an amateur naturalist, with a particular interest in ornithology, and he had attracted the foremost natural scientists of his day to Osberton. George Savile followed his grandfather's example not only by enlarging the collection of natural history books substantially, but also by befriending the most important - and celebrated - ornithologist of the time, John Gould.
John Gould has been considered equal to Audubon in importance to the 19th-century iconography of birds. He was highly respected by fellow naturalists, and was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and Vice-President of the Zoological Society. In 1843 he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society for his contribution to Australian zoology.
Gould first worked as "Curator [of Birds] and Preserver" at the Zoological Society of London, where he mounted a collection of bird specimens from the Himalayas. Believing it to be the first sizeable collection of Himalayan birds available in Europe, Gould decided to reproduce it in lithographic plates and with a descriptive text by N.A. Vigors, Secretary of the Zoological Society. Gould's wife Elizabeth made watercolours after his rough sketches, and drew the outlines on the lithographic stones. This husband-wife partnership was to continue, with artistic contributions from Edward Lear and Henry Constantine Richter, until her early death in 1841, after which Gould worked with Richter as artist. Gould produced ten bird books and Mammals of Australia; the publication of his last work, The Birds of New Guinea was completed in 1888 after his death.
It is not known when John Gould and George Savile Foljambe first met. They certainly knew each other personally by 1850, when Gould inscribed a copy of An Introduction to the Birds of Australia dated 25 July that year. Gould was at Osberton in January 1857, when he killed a water rail; Gould's original watercolour of it, annotated "Male Osberton Jany 1857 Correct colours of the soft parts of the male (leg) when newly killed by me at Osberton" (reproduced in Maureen Lambourne's John Gould - Bird Man, 1987). Gould also inscribed a copy of An Introduction to the Trochilidae to Foljambe on 7 December 1861.
George Savile Foljambe was an early purchaser of Gould's books, and his name appears in Gould's 1870 "Prospectus of Mr. Gould's works on Ornithology, etc., with a list of the subscribers and possessors". However, he seems to have come late to subscribing to Gould's works. He or, for those works completed after his death, his son Francis John Foljambe, appear in subscriber lists for the Humming Birds, Asia, and Great Britain, works published in 1849 or after. George Savile and Francis John Foljambe thus acquired the Foljambe set of Goulds on or soon after publication; its sale by auction now represents a rare opportunity to acquire a full set with a single family ownership and closely associated with Gould.
THE SET WILL BE OFFERED AS A SINGLE LOT, DESCRIBED IN LOTS 19-29, SUBJECT TO A RESERVE PRICE. IF THIS PRICE IS NOT REACHED, THE SET WILL BE OFFERED AS SEPARATE LOTS 19-29.
John Gould , 19th Century, Books & Manuscripts, Great Britain, natural history, ornithology
Books & Manuscripts