History of British Birds

by Thomas Bewick
Vol. I
containing the History and Description of Land Birds
Edition of 1798

Arms of Newcastle

The first volume of the History of British Birds, the Land Birds, was first published in September of 1797, containing a text by Beilby, much revised by Bewick. This first edition contained 117 figures of birds, along with 91 vignettes. This was published again in 1798, with some variations, but this "second" edition bears the date of 1797 and is usually confused with the first edition. While the number of figures of birds and vignettes is identifical, as is the order in which they appear, there are a number of differences which Sidney Roscoe enumerated in his excellent Thomas Bewick, A Bibliography Raisonné of Editions of the General History of Quadrupeds, The History of British Birds and the Fables of Aesop issued in his lifetime (Oxford University Press) 1953, reprinted in 1973. Perhaps the most obvious feature of the 1798 edition is that it includes a second state of the figure of the Magpie. By clicking on a title in the left frame on this page, you can view the vignette below as well as information related to it.

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