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    The Monumental Work on Texas Birds

    Scott and Stuart Gentling. Of Birds and Texas. Fort Worth: Gentling Editions, 1986.

    Limited edition, number 182 of 500 copies signed by Scott Gentling, Stuart Gentling, and John Graves. Below their signatures, Scott and Stuart have also signed an inscription dated September 14, 1988, which reads, "For Jim Kelly, Thank you for all the help you have given us." 146 acid-free sheets (22" x 28"). Elephant folio. Consisting of two portfolios containing 47 of the original 50 gorgeous offset lithographic color plates of Texas birds and landscapes painted by Fort Worth artists Scott and Stuart Gentling, with commentary by the twin artists preceding each plate (three plates are missing). Each plate bears the artist's reproduced original signature. Included in this monumental work is Texas author John Graves' humorous and very personal eleven-sheet essay entitled "Recollections of a Texas Bird Glimpser." This is a physically impressive set, dedicated to the memory of John James Audubon.

    The sheets of plates and text are arranged in two linen-covered portfolios which are placed in a linen-covered box (23" x 29" x 2.75"), crafted by Austin's Jensen Bindery. All plates and text are printed on the recto of each sheet. Portfolio One consists of impressive Texas landscape plates numbered I through X. Preliminary sheets, including the forward written by Harry Tennison and the introduction by Stuart Gentling, are numbered v through xii; the remaining sheets, which include the plates, are numbered 1 through 32.

    Portfolio Two consists of 121 sheets (numbered 34 through 137) and includes plates XI through L. (The three missing plates are plate XIII, "Cardinal"; plate XX, "Acorn Woodpecker"; and plate XXXIII, "Great-Tailed Grackle.") The plates contain a varied assortment of Texas fowl, mostly life-sized, such as the turkey vulture, cattle egret, wild turkey, snow goose, bufflehead duck, mockingbird, and bobwhite quail. The birds are set in various regional and seasonal Texas backgrounds, such as woodlands, farm scenes, swamplands, and beaches.

    The Gentling twins began work on this massive project in 1976. Eight years later - and with the collaboration of Graves (author of Goodbye to a River), Craig Jensen's bindery, and David Holman of Wind River Press in Austin - they finally concluded this landmark project, certainly one of the greatest ornithological works to come from Texas. It comes in its original shipping box and is in fine condition.

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    Portfolio Two also includes two important pieces of John J. Audubon memorabilia.

    1. A facsimile reproduction of the first page of an original handwritten Audubon draft entitled "Red Shouldered Hawk," written from Scotland in 1830. In this initial draft, Audubon recollects observations of the hawk, which he refers to as "one of the Most noisy of all the Falcon Genus." The naturalist eventually painted the hawk three times. The transcription of his entire manuscript serves as the introductory commentary for the Gentlings' "Red Shouldered Hawk" plate.

    2. A reproduction of Audubon's first published bird painting, "The Great Crow Blackbird" (1824). According to the Gentlings' engaging narrative of the history of the painting, the original painting had been considered lost until the brothers stumbled across it in 1985. They purchased it and proudly publish it here. Interestingly, the painting was originally published with alterations by another artist, making this its first publication in unaltered form.


    Also included is a facsimile copy of John Graves' typed manuscript for his essay, "Recollections of a Texas Bird Glimpser." Graves' facsimile signature, dated October 2, 1984, appears on the cover page and his facsimile handwritten corrections appear on the final page.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2011
    7th-9th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,634

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