American Ptarmigan, White Tailed Grous, Plate CCCCXVIII (418)

John James Audubon

Published by Robert Havell, London, 1827
Condition: Fine No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

“The Birds of America” is the seminal work of John James Audubon (1785-1851) and has been hailed as both a work of outstanding beauty and ornithological interest. Its preeminence was established by Audubon's extensive and meticulous study of every bird that he delineated, reproducing its image to life-size and within a natural setting. Audubon's masterpiece is undoubtedly the greatest work on birds ever produced. Untutored in either ornithological study or painting, John James Audubon was motivated from his boyhood by his love of rendering birds in their natural setting. Born in what is now Haiti and raised in France, Audubon arrived in America in 1803 at the age of eighteen. He soon began traveling widely east of the Mississippi, working at various jobs and all the while pursuing his passionate avocation of sketching and observing the habits of birds. His dream was to compile a volume of colored prints depicting in actual size all of the birds of North America. As his portfolio grew, Audubon traveled to Philadelphia, the publishing capital of the young nation at the time. Unable to find financial support and an engraver equal to his task, Audubon sailed to England in 1826 to realize his dream. The first exhibition of the paintings of Audubon, was met with public and critical acclaim in Liverpool, and Audubon gradually gathered financial support for his project. W. H. Lizars of Edinburgh was contracted as Audubon’s engraver, but after completing only ten of the Birds of America plates, Lizars resigned. Robert Havell and Sons of London took over for Lizars in 1827, and they continued to engrave and hand color Audubon’s Birds of America for the next eleven years. Havell completed the “Birds of America” in the double elephant folio size in 1838. Scholars estimate that only 175 complete folios of all 435 plates were published in all. Audubon's tireless efforts and remarkable talent culminated in the publication in London of the first edition of his 435-plate book. It took eleven years for the whole work to be published and little less than two hundred complete sets were made. The work was sold by subscription in parts of five plates at a time. This fine, hand colored aquatint and engraving, "American Ptarmigan, White-tailed Grous," Plate CCCCXVIII (418), measures 25.75" x 28" and is in excellent condition with evidence of previous binding on the top edge. Ptarmigan's are medium sized game birds in the Grous family. The American Ptarmigan illustrated is finely detailed with a red eye-circle and detailed coloring of the feathers and tail as the plumage is changing. The White-tailed Grouse is also well colored in pure white, with accenting lines and shadows bringing dimension and a physical quality to the piece. These birds are set against an abstract background and made to scale, allowing them to be the main focus of the overall image. Bookseller Inventory # ark201e

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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Ptarmigan, White Tailed Grous, ...

Publisher: Robert Havell, London

Publication Date: 1827

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Fine

Store Description

The world's largest selection of the works of John James Audubon, Pierre-Joseph Redoute, Giovanni Battista Piranesi, historically important maps, natural history engravings and watercolors, lithographs of the American West, Californiana, Hawaiiana and Western Americana. Located at 432 Jackson Street in Historic Jackson Square, San Francisco, and online at www.aradersf.com.

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