London: Published for the subscribers by the Author, 1888. Second Edition. Two volumes imperial quarto : pp lxxiv, 250, 6; xv, 359 : 50 plates (48 chromolithographed and hand-finished) by Kuelemans : all edges gilt : original boards with bird designs in gilt to top boards : sympathetically re-backed in green calf with five raised bands : gilt lettering and leaf motifs to spines : INSCRIBED by Buller in volume one, "Captain Fairchild, with best wishes of the Author, W. Buller, May 24, 1891".
Significant foxing to the title page of Volume One and decreasing by degrees throughout the Introduction, the rest of both volumes, including the plates, are quite clean; barely perceptible water mark to the upper fore-edge of volume two; some light marks to the boards.
[Sitwell, p.85]. Very good. Item #2115
Limited to 1000 copies for subscribers only, Buller's second edition was larger, revised, and with many more plates than the original published in 1873. Issued in 13 parts, it incorporated advances made both in ornithological science and colour printing and, as the author himself notes in the preface, "[i]t is generally admitted that nothing so perfect in colour-printing has hitherto been attempted" (p. xi).
Captain John Fairchild (1834-1898) was a notable figure in early settlement history of New Zealand. He arrived in 1860 and entered government service during the Maori Wars of 1861-63. "Among the services which he rendered the colony (his testimonials show these to have been numerous) was the charting, in conjunction with Captain Johnston, the late Government Nautical Adviser, of the harbours of the colony before they were handed over to the Harbour Boards." He met a sudden and tragic end in an accident onboard the Tutanekai in 1898, just a week before his youngest daughter Nina's wedding. Among those who sent condolences to his widow were Lady Ranfurley of Government House and the Premier R. J. Seddon. (Wellington Evening Post, 5 July 1898).