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Friday, June 29, 2012

A Robust Scene of the Sea by Robert Havell (1793-1878)

Robert Havell (1793-1878)
Gulls Over Rough Seas
Oil on artist’s board
Board size: 7 3/4” x 11 3/4”
Framed size: 10 5/16” x 14 1/4”
London, circa 1830
Provenance: The Family of Robert Havell, Jr.

Robert Havell was the principal engraver of Audubon's Birds of America, the most significant natural history publication of all time.  His aquatint engraving of John James Audubon's Birds of America is now recognized as a significant artistic achievement in its own right and an essential component of the success of Birds of America. 

During his collaboration with Audubon, Havell drew inspiration from and made creative contributions to the great master of bird painting, creating magnificent works in the style of Audubon.  When not painting or engraving birds, Havell worked largely in landscapes and views.

His additions to the Birds of America Series were most notably the backgrounds-- skilled at rendering the most delicate foliage or vibrant scenery to stage the beautiful (and sometimes gruesome) dramas of Audubon’s birds, Havell was as much responsible for the final outcome of the series as was his colleague.  This incredible seascape is a testament to the talents he fine-tuned during the years with Audubon.  

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