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    Scott and Stuart Gentling. Of Birds and Texas Elephant Folio, Numbered 490 of 500 Limited Edition Copies. Fort Worth: Gentling Editions, 1986, 134 acid-free sheets (22" x 28"). Consisting of two portfolios containing forty-seven of the original fifty beautiful offset lithographic color plates (three plates are missing). Specifically featured are thirty-eight of the original forty Texas bird portraits and nine of the original ten Texas landscapes, all painted by Fort Worth artists Scott and Stuart Gentling, with commentary by the twin artists preceding each plate. Included in this monumental work is Texas author John Graves' humorous and very personal eleven-page essay entitled "Recollections of a Texas Bird Glimpser." The page following the title page is signed by Scott Gentling, Stuart Gentling, and John Graves. Each plate also bears the artists' reproduced original signature. On the title page, the artists have written in pencil, "Late but ernest [sic] - Well, it's been two years, so I guess you both passed the test. Scott and I hope that you enjoy this work, because we had friends like you in mind when we created it - Fellow artists and fellow Texans. With love and admiration, [signed] Stuart and Scott Gentling, July 28, 1993." This is a physically impressive set, dedicated to the memory of John James Audubon.

    The plates and sheets of 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. Portfolio One consists of thirteen introductory sheets followed by sheets numbered 1 through 32. On theses sheets are the impressive Texas landscape plates numbered I through X. Sheet sixteen (Plate II, "Limestone Ledge") is missing. The forward is written by Harry Tennison and the introduction by Stuart Gentling.

    Portfolio Two consists of sheets numbered 34 through 124 containing plates XI through L. Missing are two sheets: sheet 58 (Plate XXI, "Roseate Spoonbill") and sheet 67 (Plate XXV, "Scaled Quail"). All plates contain a varied assortment of Texas fowl, mostly life-sized, including the turkey vulture, cattle egret, wild turkey, snow goose, bufflehead duck, mockingbird, bobwhite quail, etc. The birds are set in various regional and seasonal Texas backgrounds, such as woodlands, farm scenes, swamplands, and beaches. Portfolio Two also includes two important pieces of 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" (Audubon eventually painted the hawk three times). The transcription of Audubon's 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.

    The Gentling twins hatched the idea for this massive project in 1966, though they didn't begin the work until 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 - the Gentlings finally concluded this landmark project, certainly one of the greatest ornithological works to come from Texas. The linen-covered box has minor wear, stains, and soiling.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    23rd Saturday
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