Pucrasia Darwini, Swinhoe (Darwin's Pucras Pheasant)

John Gould

Published by London, 1883
Condition: Fine No Binding
From Arader Galleries San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, U.S.A.)

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This splendid hand-colored, folio-size lithograph, Pucrasia Darwini, Swinhoe, from John Gould’s (1804-1881) monumental book "Birds of Asia" (1850-1883) is in excellent condition. Measuring 15" x 21", this lithograph displays the author’s scientific skill and attention to detail. Commonly called Darwin's Pucras Phesant, these birds are expertly hand-colored in different shades of brown and gray. The male is illustrated with long blue ear coverts and a green and white neck. Precise lines define and detail the intricate patterns of feathers on their bodies and add dimension to their plumage. 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. One of Gould's greatest achievements, the “Birds of Asia” was in production longer than any of his other work, taking thirty-four years for the appearance of its thirty-five parts. The ornithologist was fascinated by the diversity of the exotic, colorful species of Asia, and he conveyed his enchantment to viewers, creating one of his most monumental and magnificent sets. For the preparation of “Birds of Asia”, Gould’s team of artists was joined by the German-born Josef Wolf, who, like Richter and Hart, would also become a long-term collaborator. The subjects of the plates are among the most varied of Gould's folios: trogons, kingfishers, sunbirds, woodpeckers, partridges, parrots, parakeets, pheasants, and many other genera are beautifully drawn, printed and colored. Gould placed many of the overwhelmingly vibrant, showy and elegant birds in settings appropriately lush and detailed. Perhaps more than in any of his other productions, he was careful to create an environment that was extensively delineated and highly accurate. In many of Gould's other books, the background was subtle or nonexistent, but he was clearly fascinated by the foliage and wildlife of Asia. The intended geographical range of the work was enormous and very much in keeping with the seemingly limitless ambition of the 19th century's most enterprising and prolific ornithologist. “Birds of Asia” was an overwhelming success, despite the great length of time over which it was produced. It was also a stunning feat in that, throughout the four decades of its production, the quality remained outstandingly high. The many noted subscribers included Queen Victoria, the Emperor of Austria, the kings of Hanover, Belgium, and Portugal, museums, universities, and institutions in cities worldwide. Bookseller Inventory # ag1001e

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Pucrasia Darwini, Swinhoe (Darwin's Pucras ...

Publisher: London

Publication Date: 1883

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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