<< YCBA Home Yale Center for British Art Yale Center for British Art << YCBA Home

YCBA Collections Search

IIIF Actions
Longstaff, William Hilton, 1792–1842

Selections from the mammalia and ornithology volumes of The naturalist's library : manuscript.

Great Britain, 1841-1842.
Physical Description:
2 volumes : illustrations ; 11 cm
Rare Books and Manuscripts
QL45 .J37 1841
Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Fund
View by request in the Study Room [Request]
Note: The Study Room is open by appointment. Please visit the Study Room page on our website for more details.

Copyright Status:
Copyright Not Evaluated
Archives & Manuscripts
The compiler of the manuscript is William Hilton Longstaff (1792-1842). In The Langstaffs of Teesdale and Weardale (1906), he is listed as "William Hilton Longstaff, M.R.C.S., of Norton [Durham], herald and genealogist, only child ... " He was the father of the author and antiquary William Hylton Dyer Longstaffe (1826-1898). In his The history and antiquities of the parish of Darlington (1854), Longstaffe describes his father as an "amateur etcher, collector, and illuminator of coins, shields, book-plates and seals." A small slip inserted in the ornithology volume is inscribed by the son: "Ever yours faithfully, W. Hylton Dyer Longstaffe." The son may have been responsible for the added title page in the ornithology volume, dated 1843 (Longstaff died in November, 1842).
Both volumes bound in contemporary dark green pebble-grained cloth, with leather spine labels. With Longstaff's embossed armorial stamp, on blue paper, on the front pastedown of each volume.
Manuscript volumes on mammalia and ornithology, adapted by William Hilton Longstaff from William Jardine's The naturalist's library (originally published in 40 volumes by W.H. Lizars, from 1833 to 1843). The manuscript includes drawings in pen and black ink and watercolor, also copied from The naturalist's library. Organization of the manuscript follows that of the published version, in which mammals were treated in 13 volumes (the first 10 of which are represented here), birds in 14 volumes (10 of which are represented here). Illustrations are carefully drawn to reproduce the published originals by various artists, including Edward Lear, Prideaux John Selby, William John Swainson, and James Hope Stewart.
The manuscript provides a much condensed and modified version of the content in The naturalist's library. The lengthy biographical memoirs of prominent naturalists that appeared at the beginning of each published volume are shortened, in the manuscript, to about a single page each. Longstaff includes copies of the naturalists' signatures. Each memoir is followed by a taxonomic overview of an order, family, or genus, and then a description of the identifying traits of various species. Descriptions of species that extend at least several pages in The naturalist's library are here condensed to a concise paragraph. For example the manuscript describes the domesticated turkey as follows: "102. M. Gallopavo. Turkey. Linn. M. fera, Viell... M. Occidentalis, Bartram. Male with plummage of golden bronze, with different hues, feathers terminated by deep black bands. Length about 4 ft. 1 in. Female gayer, no spurs on the legs, length about 3 ft. 4 in., N. America" (ornithology volume, p. 65).
The mammalia volume describes 454 species, on 307 pages.The ornithology volume describes 613 species on 332 pages. Both volumes include frontispieces and illustrated title pages for each of their 10 internal sections (variously dated 1841 or 1842), and an index. The ornithology volume includes an extra 30 leaves of drawings at the end.
Subject Terms:
Longstaffe, William Hylton Dyer, 1826-1898.
Naturalists -- Biography.
Ink drawings.
Lear, Edward, 1812-1888.
Selby, Prideaux John, 1788-1867.
Stewart, James Hope, 1789-1883.
Swainson, William, 1789-1855.
Jardine, William, 1800-1874.
Lizars, W. H. (William Home), 1788-1859.
Longstaffe, William Hylton Dyer, 1826-1898.

If you have information about this object that may be of assistance please contact us.