Wednesday, September 27, 2017

John James Audubon: Ornithologist, Naturalist, Painter

J.J. Audubon

John James Audubon (born Jean Rabin; April 26, 1785 – January 27, 1851) was an American ornithologistnaturalist, and painter. He was notable for his extensive studies documenting all types of American birds and for his detailed illustrations that depicted the birds in their natural habitats. His major work, a color-plate book entitled The Birds of America (1827–1839), is considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. Audubon identified 25 new species.
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John James Audubon's Birds of America is a portal into the natural world. It contains 435 life-sized watercolours of North American birds (Havell edition), all reproduced from hand-engraved plates, and is considered to be the archetype of wildlife illustration.

The success of Audubon's first Birds of America brought Audubon Worldwide acclaim. Following that success, he returned to America and set out to issue a smaller version that would include more birds (most newly discovered in the Western U.S.). He decided on a 1/8 or octavo sized sheet measuring about 6-1/2" x 10". He called this set The Royal Octavo Edition of Birds of America. The 1st Edition of 500 plates was lithographed and hand colored by J.T. Bowen in Philadelphia and New York from 1840-44. 

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The following prints are from Birds of America by J.J. Audubon's "Octavo Edition". This is a private collection and may be available for sale soon. Email for information.

Pl.15  Common Osprey Fish Hawk

Pl.383  Trumpeter Swan

Pl. 422  American White Pelican 

Pl. 326  Townsend's Oyster-catcher

Pl. 138  Common Mocking Bird

Pl. 369  Great blue Heron

Pl. 405  Eider Duck

Pl. 375  American Flamingo

Pl. 376  Canada Goose

Pl. 424  Brown Pelican


Pl. 379  Brant Goose

Pl. 423  Brown Pelican

Pl. 175  Swamp Sparrow

Pl. 325  Bachman's Oyster-catcher