Nature (journal)/Volume 48/Number 1231/An Analytical Index to the Works of the Late John Gould

Nature, Volume 48
An Analytical Index to the Works of the Late John Gould

An Analytical Index to the Works of the late John Gould, F.R.S. By R. Bowdler Sharpe. LL.D. With a Biographical Memoir and Portrait. (London: Henry Sotheran and Co., 1893).

The compiler of the present work mentions in the preface that the need for it was originally suggested in the course of a discussion between Lord Wharncliffe and Lord Walshingham as to some ornithological question. They diced to refer to one of Gould's plates, but could not readily find the volume in which the figure was given. It occurred to both of them that "such a difficulty would not arise if there existed a complete 'Index' to all the folio works issued by Gould," and Lord Wharncliffe asked Mr. Bowdler Sharpe whether he would undertake the preparation of the kind of volume that was wanted. As Messrs. Sotheran were willing to publish an "Index," Mr. Sharpe set about the task, hoping to be able to accomplish it within a reasonably short period. As a matter of fact. he says, the enterprise "has taken me as many years to finish as I expected it would have taken months." The" Index" does not relate to all the papers published by Gould in various journals, but it does include every work which he issued separately, whether in folio, or octavo, or quarto form; and Mr. Sharpe, with the aid of his assistant at the Natural History Museum, has been careful to check the various references, the number of which is nearly seventeen thousand. He has also put in some "extra synonyms from popular works, such, for instance, as Oates's ʿBirds of British India’, which in a few years will have familiarised Indian naturalists and sportsmen with a certain set of names which do not occur in Gould's works though the species may be duly figured therein." The work, which is very handsomely "got up," will be of great value to all who are fortunate enough to possess Gould's writings, and it will frequently be of good service to every serious student of ornithology. In the biographical memoir Mr. Sharpe not only presents the leading facts of Gould's career, but has much that is fresh and interesting to say about the results of his scientific labours and about the essential qualities of his character.