Cygnus Olor (Mute Swan)

John Gould

Published by London, 1837
Condition: Fine No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

This splendid hand-colored, folio-size lithograph, Cygnus Olor, from John Gould’s (1804-1881) monumental book "Birds of Great Britain" (1862-1873) is in excellent condition with a small foxing mark in the top margin. Measuring 14.75" x 21.25", this lithograph displays the author’s scientific skill and attention to detail. Commonly called Mute Swans, this intimate scene shows adults with their young, called cygnets. the adults are colored in brilliant white with black accenting around their eyes and orange bills. The cygnets are gray colored. John Gould was an English ornithologist, self-taught artist and naturalist. Gould first worked as a gardener under his father in the Royal Gardens of Windsor from 1818-1824, where he began his illustrations. He became an expert taxidermist, opening his own practice in London in 1824 and in 1827 he became the first Curator and Preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London. Through his work he was able to meet with the country’s leading naturalists and view new collections of birds given to the Zoological Society. His interest in birds was continually developing and in 1830 he published his first volume on birds, “A Century of Birds From the Himalaya Mountains.” For the next fifty years, Gould, his wife and artists working with them traveled around Asia, the East Indies and Australia. His wife Elizabeth and other artists were able to transfer his sketches to stone; hand print and hand-color them. Gould was especially proud of this sumptuous work “Birds of Great Britain” describing the volumes as a return to his old love of native birds. Unlike in earlier publications, however, the illustrations incorporate more nests, eggs, and young than the earlier works, with a focus on landscapes and family groupings. The ornithologist and his collaborators took more of an interest in creating accurate, appropriate settings, and included more plants and fully delineated environments, resulting in a number of lavish scenes of action and interaction. Gould's rightful pride in these illustrations was reflected in his preface explanation of their coloring: " every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were colored by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought." Gould's pride in “The Birds of Great Britain” was matched by its public success. Bookseller Inventory # ag0808e

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Cygnus Olor (Mute Swan)

Publisher: London

Publication Date: 1837

Binding: No Binding

Book Condition:Fine

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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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