7 сентября 2022

Edward Hargitt

1835 - 1895

Edward Hargitt, a Scottish painter and ornithologist has been working on his monograph about 14 years. He decided to create an illustrated book of reference of woodpeckers family including the descriptions of all known at that moment family species. Edward Hargitt worked with collections of the British, Paris, Leiden, Turin Museums, American National Museum in Washington and many private collections to implement his idea.

As a result of a long-term and laborious work he became an author of the 3145-page handwritten reference book with 1386 hand painted tables. The author shows the descriptions of all known species by giving full quotations without changing the language and indicating the page number of the original works they were presented in. Some descriptions are followed by the author's annotations. Each volume includes a subject index in the end. In addition, the 14th volume is a general index to the whole monograph.

Edward Hargitt especially thanks his sister Mary Jane in the introduction to the first volume, as she was the one who copied the rough drafts. As the introduction is dated January 1895 and on March of the same year Edward Hargitt died the monograph was failed to be published himself.

In twenties of the twentieth century due to the efforts of the State Darwin Museum's founder Alexander F. Coates a multi-volume edition was received as a part of the Alexei Stepanovich Khomiakov's (1872-?) nationalized collection. Presumably it was bought by Khomiakov in 1912. The reference in the Khomialov's library's catalog is following:

"The handwritten issue in 14 volumes, no one ever published, containing 3145 text pages and 1368 tables, painted by the authors. This work is Unicum, it's a life-work of the author. Bowdler Sharpe, a famous ornithologist priced it at 600 pounds (6000 rubles)".

The books are half-leather binded, marble papered with a leather spine and corners, with gold top edge. The title, the name of author, the volume number and title with the year of creation are stamped in gold on the spine.

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