Prideaux John Selby (1788-1867) was a very gifted artist and the ‘Illustrations of British Ornithology’ is the ‘most splendid and costly work yet printed on the birds of Great Britain’ (William Swainson, ex Jackson). In many critic’s opinions the clarity of the engraving gives the birds a beauty that is lacking in the lithographs of the likes of John Gould. ‘The cool, classical quality of Selby’s plates belongs to the age of elegance and could never have been achieved by the Victorian John Gould. Selby’s bird figures were the most accurate delineations of British birds to date, and the liveliest’ (Jackson). Ayer (1926) 571; Fine Bird Books (1990) 107; Jackson (1985) 201-13; Nissen IVB (1976) 853.