Philadelphia: J. T. Bowen. Hard Cover. Near Fine. Item #7319
1848-49-50. First octavo edition, 3 volumes, large octavo (10 5/8" x 7"); iv; xvii290; iv392 pages. 120 hand-colored plates (including 3 frontispieces). Bound in contemporary 19th century 3/4 brown leather, over marbled boards, raised bands, with 6 panels generously decorated in gilt; marbled end papers, all edges stained red. An outstanding set, having all plates clean and bright; tissue guards protect each plate. The present set is the finest we have seen in years. Volume I shows light foxing on several leaves of text, mostly marginal, not affecting plates; the title page of volume II and the following leaf of text, show light occasional foxing; owner stamp (1/8" in height) at top margin of title page of each volume; no other markings are present. Altogether, a handsome, near fine set. Most of the plates are from the portraits by Charles Bird King, painted from life, of Native American leaders who came to Washington (Field 992). McKenney was appointed to the Office of Indian Affairs, by President Monroe; McKenney then commissioned King to paint portraits of the visiting Indian delegates in his Washington studio. Howes states that the plates are "mostly the work of King" and further states that they are "the most colorful portraits of Indians ever executed.....The original oil paintings of which the plates were copies, were all destroyed in the 1865 Smithsonian fire." The text was written by Hall, from information supplied by Mckenney and constitutes biographies of the Native American leaders and includes a general history of North American Indians. Howes M129.