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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Audubon's Monumental Testaments to American Wildlife

First published in parts between 1827 and 1838, only 120 complete sets of John James Audubon’s Birds of America are thought to exist today.   Engraved by hand with aquatint and detailed hand coloring, the Great American Cock and the Greater Flamingo, are perhaps most representative of “the most magnificent monument which has ever been raised to ornithology.” 

A noble testament to an unparalleled interest in documenting the diverse wildlife of America, only 300 complete sets of the Imperial folio of Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-8) were ever produced.  Much in keeping with Audubon’s open-minded nature, the Common Mouse makes for a humorous handling of common household pests.

John James Audubon (1785-1851)  
Plate 1: Wild American Cock 
From The Birds of America
Aquatint engraving with original hand color
William Lizars: Edinburgh, 1826

John James Audubon (1785-1851)  
Plate 431: American Flamingo 
From The Birds of America
Aquatint engraving with original hand color
London: Robert Havell, Jr., 1827-1838.

John James Audubon (1785-1851)  
Plate 90: Common Mouse
From The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America
Stone Lithograph with original hand color 
New York: 1845-54

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