DescriptionJohn James Audubon (1785-1851). Black Vulture or Carrion Crow - Plate CVI (Havell Edition).
A dramatic hand-colored aquatint engraving by R. Havell from the first edition of The Birds of America (London: 1827-1838). Watermarked "J Whatman 1830." Plate dated 1831. In very good condition with general toning and foxing to paper and a few small tears and chips around the edges. One 3.75-inch vertical tear extends from bottom edge into the image and has been repaired on the reverse, somewhat inelegantly. A few shallow creases. Minor paper loss to tips of corners. Brown tape residue to all edges of front and back of print. Right side shows binding edge, with prominent stitching holes. Light penciled notations. 26 x 39.25 inches.
More Information: John James Audubon (1785-1851), the Haitian-born Frenchman who spent most of his life in the United States, is, without question, the greatest and most influential painter of birds in the history of ornithological illustration. His masterpiece, the Birds of America (1827-1838), took twelve years of meticulous work to complete. The 435 hand-colored aquatint engravings, masterfully rendered by Robert Havell, were originally printed on huge double elephant folio paper, depicting North American birds in their full life-size glory. This original "Havell Edition" is the first and most sought-after printing, and it is estimated that only 175 complete sets of this edition were produced. In 1842 Audubon issued the "Octavo Edition," a smaller format (and more affordable) edition intended to reach a larger audience. The "Bien Edition"- a collection of chromolithograph reissues - appeared between 1858 and 1860, but was left incomplete as the publication was halted by the onset of the Civil War; it is estimated that only 75 sets of this edition were issued. Audubon's last work was The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, a study of mammals published in both an imperial folio format by J. T. Bowen as well as an octavo edition by Lockwood & Co. Not only was Audubon a superb wildlife painter, but he also contributed significantly to the study of bird anatomy and behavior. John James Audubon's influential and groundbreaking work occupies a monumental place of honor in the pantheon of ornithological art.
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