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ANGAS, George French: The New Zealanders Illustrated.
London, Thomas M'Lean, 1847. Imperial folio, [xii] pages, comprising a superb hand-coloured lithographed pictorial title page dated 1846 (verso blank); letterpress title page dated 1847 (verso blank); lithographed dedication (verso blank); Subscribers to 'New Zealanders Illustrated' (2 pages, with 188 names accounting for 193 copies); Preface (verso blank); 'General Remarks on the New Zealanders' (6 pages, last blank) plus 52 (of 60) hand-coloured lithographs, each with a tissue-guard and accompanying descriptive letterpress (usually one leaf, occasionally more - and all are present). Contemporary (if not original) half purple morocco and matching cloth, lettered in gilt on the spine and front cover (with the stamp of 'Proudfoot, Binder, 73 George St, Euston' on the verso of the front flyleaf); leather a little sunned on the spine, slightly mottled, and a little rubbed at the extremities, with slight scrapes to the surface at the rear; occasional offsetting on to tissue-guards; very light inoffensive tidemark to the top margin of five plates and a few adjacent tissue-guards and text leaves (well clear of any pictorial or printed surface); overall an excellent copy, with the plates in fine condition.
The missing plates are Number 1-6, 8 and 40; four are portraits or group portraits, one is a traditional house, one a forest scene, and two depict mountains (Tongariro and Taranaki). The binding is undisturbed, there are no tell-tale stubs, and there is no evidence of offsetting on to any of the unaccompanied leaves of text, so it would appear that the plates were never present in this copy - alas. This handsome volume was published at the same time as its companion piece, 'South Australia Illustrated', and it is very similar to it in composition. Angas explains himself in his short preface to this volume: 'Perhaps at the present moment, no country in the world is more peculiarly interesting than New Zealand; no race of men more singular than its Aboriginal Inhabitants. Up to the present time, the New Zealander, it is submitted, has never been carefully and faithfully pourtrayed [sic], and his habits, costumes, and works of art, though so rapidly disappearing before the progress of Christianity and Civilization, are yet unrecorded by the pencil of the artist. To accomplish this task, I visited both Islands of New Zealand, and spent a considerable period in travelling round their coasts, and penetrating through the interior - by seeking out nearly every tribe of natives, and living amongst them for some time, in the remote and almost unknown parts of the country, I have succeeded in obtaining portraits of the most important Chiefs, with their families, and have made drawings, on the spot, of all objects of interest connected with their history'.