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Sharpe & Dresser's "A History of the Birds
of Europe, Part I" (S190: 1871)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A book review printed on page 505 of the 27 April 1871 issue of Nature. To link directly to this page connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S190.htm

A History of the Birds of Europe, including all the Species inhabiting the Western Palæarctic Region. By R. B. Sharpe, F.L.S., &c., and H. E. Dresser, F.Z.S., &c. Part I. (London: published by the Authors.)

     This work will supply a great want, since it will give in a convenient form and at a moderate price, a really good coloured figure with a full and accurate description and history of every European bird. The talent of Mr. Sharpe for publications of this nature has been sufficiently shown by his beautiful work on the kingfishers, which we have already noticed, while his colleague, Mr. Dresser, is an enthusiastic student of European birds. In M. Keulemans they have secured an artist who bids fair to rival Wolf in the delineation of bird character; and if the work maintains the standard of its first part (and we have every reason to believe it will do so), its subscribers will have cause to be satisfied. We find in the part now issued eight species of birds beautifully figured, and about forty-six pages of letterpress, crowded with information from every available source on the habits and distribution of the species. The series of charming pictures of the most graceful of all living things which this work will give, must render it a general favourite; and it will assuredly help to extend the growing taste for natural history, by rendering it comparatively easy for the traveller or resident on the Continent to determine the species and refer to an outline of what is known about any bird he may meet with during his rambles in the country or in the markets. To the home naturalist, also, it will prove far more interesting than a work on British birds alone; for he will here find how far over the globe his feathered friends are accustomed to range, and will make the acquaintance of many members of their several families who, although they live permanently abroad, yet retain a strong likeness to their English relations. We heartily wish Messrs. Sharpe and Dresser success in their bold and laborious undertaking.

A. R. W.

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