Folio (555 x 375 mm.), 10 original parts [complete], publisher’s cloth-backed parts wrappers (the upper pictorial covers repeating the design of the additional title-page), preserved in purpose-made portfolio and green morocco-backed slipcase with gilt red calf title labels. With additional hand-coloured pictorial title and 60 hand-coloured lithographed plates by W. Hawkins after G.F. Angas, tissue guards (a few later), lithographed dedication leaf, list of subscribers, contents loose in the parts wrappers, the colours in this copy are exceptionally fresh., overall in good condition.
EXTREMELY RARE FIRST EDITION, IN THE ORIGINAL PICTORIAL PARTS WRAPPERS. ‘Angas’ greatest and most accomplished work … It must be considered one of the fundamental works in any collection of Australian plate books and no collection can be considered complete without it’ (Wantrup). George French Angas (1822-1886) was the son of George Fife Angas (1789-1859), a merchant, banker, philanthropist and one of the founders of South Australia and Chairman of the South Australia Company in 1856. Having studied anatomical drawing and lithography in London, he first travelled to the Isle of Wight in 1840. The following year he travelled the Mediterranean and published his first illustrated work a year later. He arrived in South Australia in 1843 on board one of his father’s vessels. Here he accompanied several expeditions led by Governor George Grey, making ‘sketches in water-colours of the country’s Aboriginal people, scenery, and natural history’ (ODNB), with the purpose of ‘preserving true and life-like records of men and scenes, so quickly passing away… the drawings are coloured in the open air, from which circumstance, I have been enabled to give those peculiarities of tint, arising from brilliancy of climate, foliage, and other causes, which are at times startling to the English eye’ (Preface).
In June 1845 he held an exhibition of his work in Adelaide followed by one in Sydney. Returning to London where he held another exhibition he published ‘South Australia Illustrated’ in 10 parts issued every two months, each with 6 hand coloured lithographs and accompanying descriptive letterpress text. The work was priced at £1 1s. On completion the whole was published as one volume coloured, or plain. The last example of the parts issue we could trace in auction was at Sotheby’s 27 June 1985 lot 57. Provenance: “Mrs. Hamilton”, pencil inscription on the upper cover of Part 3. Two Hamilton’s are named on the list of subscribers, so it is possible she is a relative; . Abbey Travel 577; Colas 133; Ferguson 4458; Howgego (2004) A 11 & 12; ODNB; Tooley 62; Wantrup 237.