Legge, Ceylon

W(illiam) Vincent Legge.  A History of the Birds of Ceylon. 

Self-published by the author; printed by Taylor & Francis.  (1880)

30 images available.


Legge's work was issued in large quarto in three published parts, which were subsequently bound, either as one large volume or two separate volumes.  (Where two volumes were produced, p. 693 of second part marked the beginning of the second volume).  The plates were not issued in sequential order with each part, as noted.


There were 34 plates and a map of the island which appeared as the frontispiece.  The plates themselves were not numerated, but a table within the text provided corresponding numerals for each.  They were issued by the firm of Hanhart.  Here Keulemans' technique is well-defined, and the coloring allowed for a washed, muted background in striking contrast with the bold figures shown.


Plate [IX] (which depicts the woodpecker Brachypternus (Dinopium) ceylonus) is not included in this exhibit.  It does not bear a signature, and the style of drawing in which the figures were rendered is dissimilar to that which Keulemans employed for two lithographs of woodpeckers [VII, VIII], which were in fact signed by the artist.  Plate [XXIII], of Pellorneum fuscicapillum and Alcippe nigrifrons, and plate [XXXII], of Galloperdix bicalcarata, (female and juvenile), were not drawn by Keulemans either.  Plate [XXXIV] was titled "Plate of Eggs of 17 peculiar species," and likewise has been excluded as well.


The parts were issued as follows: 

I (pp. 1--345), 1878.  Plates I--II, IV--VII, X--XII, XIV

II (pp. 346--730), 1879.  Plates III, VIII--IX, XIII, XV, XVII--XIX, XXI--XXII

III (pp. 731--1,237), 1880.  Plates XX, XXIII--XXXIV


Recently, a reprint of Legge was published by Tisara Prakasakayo Ltd. in four volumes and 1,624 pages.  This exhibit of Birds of Ceylon is featured on two webpages, with a link provided below to access the second page. 





 [IV]  Glaucidium castanonotum,

Scops (Otus) minutus.



[I]  Spizaetus kelaarti, (female and juv. male).




[II]  Spizaetus ceylonensis.




[V]  Syrnium (Strix) indrani,

Phodilus assimilis.





[VI]  Palaeornis (Psittacula) calthropae,

Loriculus indicus.


"The figures on the Plate are those of an adult female in the foreground, with a slightly abnormal amount of black below the cheeks, and a young male from Kaloday, Eastern Province, in the background, which should have been drawn with the back turned to the front, so as to show the peculiarly light blue on the rump of immature males.  Unfortunately, however, the requirements of the author and the tastes of the artist are sometimes at variance.  I had wished that these birds should be figured on the "Jambu-tree," a sketch of which, by Sir Chas. Layard, I furnished my artist with; but it was not found suitable and he has introduced the common fig-tree of Europe instead." 




 [VII]  Chrysocolaptes stricklandi.




 [VIII]  Brachypternus (Dinopium) ceylonus.




[X]  Megalaema (Megalaima) zeylanica,

Megalaema (Megalaima) flavifrons. 




 [XI]  Xantholaema (Megalaima) rubricapilla,

juv. Loriculus indicus.




 [XIII]  Centropus chlororhynchus.






[III]  Baza (Aviceda) ceylonensis. 




[XXIX]  Eulabes (Gracula) ptilogenys,

Acridotheres melanosternus. 




 [XV]  Cissa (Urocissa) ornata.





[XII]  Phaenicophaes (Phaenicophaeus) pyrrhocephalus.




Additional pictures are available through this link--