Rome: Andrea Fe, 1622. First Edition. Large Octavo, 9 3/16 x 6 7/8 inches (232 x 175 mm);pp. XI + 161 + , including 66 full-page engraving of which 43 represent individual birds and 23 illustrate the materials about trapping and caring for birds; woodcut initials & tail-pieces, light offsetting as typical, a little browned, a few stains, A7 lacking small portion from inner margin, E4 with small paper flaw holes at head just touching head-line; 18th century diced russia, rebacked, flat spines divided into panels by single gilt rules, gilt title and publication year, rubbed, corners worn, gilt-rolled turn-ins, marbled endpapers.
Front pastedown with the engraved armorial bookplate of Thomas Philip Earl de Grey, Wrest Park, and a second engraved bookplate belonging to his daughter Anne, who inherited the Wrest Park estate and its library (ACC initial for Anne Countess Cowper).
Title page reads: Uccelliera Overo discorso della natura e proprietà di diversi uccelli e in particolare di que' che cantano, con il modo di prendergli, conoscergli, allevargli, e mantenergli. E con le Figure cavate dal vero e diligentemente intagliate in rame dal Tempesta e dal Villamena. Opera di Gio. Pietro Olina, Novarese, Dottore di Legge. Dedicata al Sig. Cavalier dal Pozzo. [Armorial] Con privilegio del Sommo Pontefice. In Roma, appresso Andrea Fei, MDCXXII.
English translation: Birds, or on the nature and properties of different birds and in particular of song birds, with ways to catch them, know them, breed them, and keep them. And with the images drawn from life and diligently engraved in copper by the Tempesta (Giovanni, 1555–1630) and Villamena (Francesco, 1564–1624). Work of Gio.(vanni) Pietro Olina, from Novara, Doctor of Law. Dedicated to Mr. Cavalier dal Pozzo. [Armorial] With privilege of the Pope. In Rome, at Andrea Fei, 1622.
[Harting 278] [Anker 380] [Cicognara 2072]
"The first purely ornithological work illustrated with a considerable number of engravings in the form of plates or [...] full-page figures." [Anker, p. 13] The work is mainly concerned with the habits, trapping and management of songbirds, including the making of a special meal with almonds, chickpeas, butter and honey to feed nightingales and use of musicians to encourage their singing and improve their tonalities and musicality, but there are also descriptions and plates of hawking, trapping mechanisms and techniques and cage design.
Even in the early 19th Century the book was considered quite rare "because of the use that many lovers of hunting have made of it." (p.357) Count Leopoldo Cicognara (1767–1834) was an art historian and bibliofile whose collection of 5,000 volumes was carefully catalogued and published in 1821.
Thomas Philip de Grey, 2nd Earl de Grey, 3rd Baron Grantham, 6th Baron Lucas (1781 – 1859) was a British Tory statesman who held many prestigious posts during his career, including First Lord of the Admiralty, aide-de-camp to both King William IV and Queen Victoria. He was also the first President of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries. He designed Wrest Park himself and had it built (1834–39) on the Bedfordshire estate he inherited from his maternal aunt along with his title of Earl de Grey.
Item number: 306