John Gould, Pl. 30 Swallow-tailed Kite, hand-colored lithograph, Birds of Europe, 1833–37

$4,250 this week only (list price $5,500). Offer expires 9-4-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

 

John Gould, Pl. 30 Swallow-tailed Kite, hand-colored lithograph, Birds of Europe, first edition, 1832–37

Enjoy significant savings on  Pl. 30, Swallow-tailed Kite, Nauclerus furcatus (Vigors), a superb hand-colored lithograph from John Gould’s Birds of Europe.
In the text that accompanies this plate, Gould reports that, "Two examples of this elegant bird having been taken on this country, the first in Argyleshire, the second in Yorkshire, we have considered that it is entitled to be included among the Birds of Europe, and have accordingly given it a place here. We also agree with Mr. Vigors and Mr. Swainson that this bird requires to be separated generically from those of the genus Elanus of Savigny."
The two specimens found in Great Britain were likely misidentified, as it was later learned that this species is native only in the Western Hemisphere. Interestingly, in the text Gould relies upon the American ornithologists, principally Thomas Nuttall, for details regarding the range of the Swallow-tailed Kite.

For correct knowledge of the habits and manners of this handsome bird we are indebted to the ornithologists of the United States of America, in different parts of which at particular seasons of the year it appears to be very abundant. In the history of this species by Wilson and Mr. Audubon, many interesting details will be found, and as one or the other of these works are in the hands of every lover of nature and ornithology, we shall avail ourselves of the less perfectly known History of the Birds of the United States and Canada by Mr. Nuttall, who says, "This beautiful Kite breeds and passes the summer in the warmer parts of the United States, and is also probably  resident in all tropical and temperate America, migrating into the southern and northern hemisphere. In the former, according Vieillo, it is found in Peru, and as far as Buenos Ayres; and though it is extremely rare to meet with this species as far as the latitude of 40 degrees in the Atlantic States, yet, tempted by the abundance of the fruitful valley of the Mississippi, individuals have been along that river as far as the Falls of St. Anthony, in the 44th parallel of north latitude." 

Comprising 448 hand-colored folio-size lithographs in five volumes, John Gould’s monumental Birds of Europe was originally published in 22 parts from 1832 to 1837. The five volumes were classed according to a system designed by the zoologist and politician, Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1785–1840). Vigors co-founded the London Zoological Society in 1826. The majority of the plates were drawn and lithographed by Gould’s talented wife, Elizabeth Coxen Gould, from sketches by John Gould. The artist and author, Edward Lear, contributed 67 of the plates and many of the foregrounds.

In perfect condition with pristine colorHand-colored lithograph, drawn from nature in the natural size by John and Elizabeth Gould. Printed by C. Hullmandel and colored by Gabriel Bayfield in London, 1832–1837. Sheet size measures 21.25 x 14.5 inches.

$4,250 this week only (list price $5,500). Offer expires 9-4-17.

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John Gould (1804–81) was a prolific publisher of ornithological subjects. In 19th-century Europe, his name was as well recognized as Audubon’s was in North America. Unlike Audubon, whose life’s work focused on one region, Gould traveled widely and employed other artists to help create his lavish, hand-colored lithographic folios.

John Gould’s love of natural history was fostered in the gardens of King George III where his father was chief gardener at Windsor Castle. Initially trained as a gardener, Gould’s interests quickly evolved, and at the age of 20, he was appointed taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London. After three years, he progressed to the position of curator of birds and chief taxidermist. In 1830, newly married, Gould and his artist wife, Elizabeth Gould (née Coxen, 1804 – 1841), began their publishing venture. During a career spanning over half a century, John Gould oversaw the publication of more than a dozen folios on birds of the world.

Among Gould’s many folios are A Monograph of Ramphastidae or Family of Toucans (1834 and 1854), the most flamboyant of Gould’s works. Monograph of the Trochilidae or Family of Humming Birds (1849–61) is Gould’s masterpiece in both breadth and beauty. Produced in London 1862–73, The Birds of Great Britain is considered to be the culmination of Gould's career.

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