Elliot's Family of the Hornbills
In the publication A monograph of the Bucerotidae or Family of the Hornbills (1877-1882) Daniël Giraud Elliot brought together 60 lithographic plates. 57 after the hand-colored originals of Joseph Gerrard Keulemans and 3 plain by Joseph Smit.
First monograph of the Hornbills
The publication Family of the Hornbills is the important first monograph on this widely scattered family of extraordinary birds.
Hornbills are extraordinary not only for their physical appearance but also for their behavior. The most noteworthy shared trait amongst the species is the male’s habit of enclosing the female in the hollow of some tree, firmly fastening her in by a wall of mud, and keeping her close prisoner until the eggs are hatched.
The male will feed the female through a slit in the wall whilst she incubates the eggs. She will only break through the wall of mud and leave the nest once the young have hatched, at which point the wall is rebuilt and remains in place until the young are ready to fly.
Dutch print artists J.G. Keulemans and J. Smit
Elliot (1835-1915) collaborated with two famous Dutch print artists.
The bizarre beauty of the Hornbill is here aptly captured by Joseph Gerrard Keulemans (1842-1912) highly accurate and beautifully observed plates.
Keulemans was born in Rotterdam, Holland, in 1842, but worked and lived chiefly in England, working on most of the important ornithological monographs and periodicals published between about 1870 and his death in London in 1912.
Joseph Smit (1836-1929) was born in Lisse. He was a zoological illustrator and received his first commission from Hermann Schlegel, a German ornithologist. In 1866 he was invited to England. He became friends with Joseph Wolf and collaborated with him on several publications for both Elliot and John Gould.
Taken from the original illustrations in the libraries of Teylers Museum in the Netherlands, the collection A monograph of the Bucerotidae or Family of the Hornbills (1877-1882) contains 60 prints after the hand-colored originals.
Plate 44 “Anorrhinus austeni” mentioned in the contents of the original publication, is not figured, as no specimen was obtainable.