New Zealand Antique Prints
& Rare Books

The On-line
Gallery

Prints may also be seen at:


New Zealand Birds’
(The Greytown Gallery)


65 Wood Street
Post Office Box 146
Greytown, 5742
Wairarapa
New Zealand

Mobile: +64 (0)27 508 5078 narena@nzbirds.com

Francis Orpen MORRIS (Reverend)  (1810–1893)

The inspiration for Francis Orpen Morris' A History of British Birds actually came from the renowned English printer, Benjamin Fawcett, who approached Morris to write the text when Morris became Vicar of Nafferton. Morris had a reputation as a popular writer on natural history in general and birds in particular. His first book had appeared as early as 1834,  A guide to an arrangement of British birds.

However, his association with Benjamin Fawcett was to have remarkable results, particularly for the study of ornithology. A History of British Birds was entirely printed and bound in the small North Country village of Driffield, Fawcett’s residence and shop, and shipped in tea chests to London. It was a resounding success.

Work on A History of British Birds probably began in 1848. Publication, which took over seven years to complete from June 1850, was undertaken in monthly parts costing one shilling. Each part contained 24 pages of letterpress and 4 hand-coloured plates. The final six volume work contained 358 coloured plates. One thousand copies of the first part were initially produced, but such was the demand that Fawcett quickly had to move into larger premises.

Alexander Francis Lydon was one of Fawcett’s principal engravers, contributing much in technique and design. A team of women colorists under very strict scrutiny first from Fawcett then his wife (a former colourist herself) hand colored each plate.

Morris became an early advocate for conservation and was instrumental in founding the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Various Editions of a History of British Birds were published from c.1851 to c.1903. All were published with the hand-colouring of the time.

1ST EDITION: 1851-57. 358 Hand coloured plates. Overall Size 10x6 inches approximately. Engraved on Turkish boxwood, printed and hand coloured using handmade delicate inks printed on finest quality wove French paper featuring the distinctive biscuit coloured background found only in the authentic Royal Octavo-sized First Edition printing.

FURTHER EDITIONS TO c.1903. The content varied between 358 and 400 plates. 10x6 inches. Plain Background.

CABINET EDITIONS (Groombridge) c.1865 onwards. These contained exactly the same engravings, but the paper size was c.7x5 inches.

In personal correspondence from Rev. M.C.F. Morris (son of Rev. F.O. Morris) dated 12 April 1932 to William Appleyard, an heir of one of the original subscribers to his father's work, Morris remarks:

“I am glad to hear that yours is the FIRST EDITION of my father’s [History of British] ‘Birds’ for that is by far the best and most valuable; because the plates being engraved on wood, are much sharper in this than in the later editions. Queen Victoria’s Consort, Prince Albert, as he was then called, was much interested in the work, and could not understand how a work of that character could have been produced in a small town like Driffield; but Fawcett was no ordinary man.... When the work was completed two copies of it were sent to the Queen who had been graciously pleased to have the books dedicated to her. One of these copies was placed in the Library at Windsor Castle, and the other, the Prince presented to the Library at Wellington College.”

Reference:

Fine Bird Books, Francis Orpen Morris, p. 125, & Benjamin Fawcett, p. 77.

 

Morris, Cirl Bunting

$45.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Cirl Bunting

Price: US$45.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 1/4 x 10 inches (16 x 25.5cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: very good, with some foxing as to be expected from a print of such an age.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Yellowhammer

$45.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Yellowhammer

Price: US$45.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 1/4 x 10 inches (16 x 25.5cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: excellent, with some foxing as to be expected from a print of such an age.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Goldfinch

$50.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Goldfinch

Price: US$50.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 5 7/8 x 9 5/8 inches (15 x 24.5cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: very good with some foxing in lower right of the image as shown in the larger photo.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Chaffinch

$50.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Chaffinch

Price: US$50.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 x 9 3/4 inches (15 x 24.8cm) approximately.

Condition: very good with some light foxing on left of print, please see larger image.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Redpoll

$45.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Redpoll

Price: US$45.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 3/16 x 10 inches (15.8 x 25.5cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: excellent, some foxing as to be expected from a print of such an age.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Black-tailed Godwit

$35.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Black-tailed Godwit

Price: US$35.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 1/8 x 9 7/8 inches (15.5 x 25 cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: reasonable, with foxing in the left, top and right margins and some foxing in the image as shown in larger photo.

Text: text is not included.

Morris, Sky lark

$45.00 USD
(includes shipping)

Morris, Sky lark

Price: US$45.00 (includes shipping cost).


LINK to LARGER image

Xylographic (woodcut) print with additional hand colouring.

From: A History of British Birds, 1st edition, by the Rev. Frances Orpen Morris, (the first edition was published in stages from 1851-57).

Benjamin Fawcett was the engraver and publisher and the artwork was done by A. F. & C. Lydon.

Paper Size: 6 1/4 x 10 inches (16 x 25.5cm) approximately. Featuring full margins, they have not been trimmed to meet the needs of a later binding.

Condition: good, with some foxing noticable in the image (please see larger photo).

Text: text is not included.