Saturday, November 15, 2008

Elizabeth and Mary Kirby's authorship

'The World at Home', by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby, published by T. Nelson and Sons, London, 1888 is the source for some of the vintage clippings recently shared here.

A quick bit of googling reveals:

'Elizabeth KIRBY (F: 1823 Dec 15 - 1873 Jun 23)
Steps Up The Ladder (anon) [1862]
Dame Buckle And Her Pet Johnny (anon) [1867]
The World At Home (w Mary KIRBY) [1869]
The Sea And Its Wonders (w Mary KIRBY) [1870]
Lost Cities Brought To Light (anon) [1871]
Margaret's Choice (aka: The Mistress Of The Manor) (anon) [1872]
Beautiful Birds In Far-Off Lands (w Mary KIRBY) [1872]
Humming-Birds (w Mary KIRBY) [1874]
Birds Of Gay Plumage - Birds Of Paradise (w Mary KIRBY) [1875]
Birds Of Gay Plumage - Sun Birds (w Mary KIRBY) [1875]
Aunt Martha's corner cupboard: or, Stories about tea, coffee, sugar, rice, etc. (w Gregg, Mary Kirby) [1887]
& more natural history related titles.

Ah [sigh and smirk] there's a certain innocence that's part of the Victorian age which makes the part of my mind that's quickly in the gutter, giggle. The part that loves old stuff and the way language changes, smiles and glows for being enlightened.

Clearly the Kirby sisters(?) had a shared passion for the exotic and far-off, natural history and bird-life in particular. Their work is widely considered to have made a significant, historical contribution to non-fiction literature. Various titles are available as reprints here.

I was originally going to cut up my copy of their work for making my signature surreal collages since it is falling apart and has been hand-coloured with watercolours randomly, by a previous owner rather than the publisher. Now I think I'll keep it in one piece!

* From The New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors

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