John J. Audubon, Pl. 48 Douglass Squirrel, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845-48, Hand-colored lithograph, Imperial Folio

$2,750 this week only (list price $3,500). Offer expires 3-12-2017

Laura Oppenheimer

John J. Audubon, Pl. 48 Douglass Squirrel, hand-colored lithographViviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845–48, Imperial folio  

Enjoy special pricing on Plate 48 Douglass SquirrelSciurus Douglassii, Gray, hand-colored lithograph after John James Audubon from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–48). A male (left) and female (right) are depicted in the size of life.

Douglas squirrels are native to the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia, and Southeast Alaska. From March of 1843 until November of that year, J. J. Audubon traveled up the Missouri River to document and collect specimens for a quadruped folio with his friend and supporter, Edward Harris, an artist assistant, Isaac Sprague, and the naturalist, John G. Bell, who joined the expedition party as taxidermist. They traveled as far as Yellowstone, but were unable to explore further since the winter would make the rivers impassable, and therefore did not reach the Pacific northwest. To describe and illustrate the animals from that region, Audubon relied on specimens collected and field notes by the naturalists John Kirk Townsend (1809–51) and Thomas Nuttall (1786–1859) during Nathaniel Wyeth's expedition to the Pacific Ocean via the Columbia River (1834–37). 

In his entry for the Douglass squirrel, John Bachman refers to Townsend's field notes for the following account of this species' habits. "This is a very plentiful species, inhabits the pine trees along the Columbia River, and like our Carolina squirrel lays in great quantity of food for consumption during the winter months. This food consists of the cones of the pine, with a few acorns. Late in autumn it may be seen very busy in the tops of the trees, throwing down its winter-stock; after which, assisted by its mate, it gathers in and stows away in its store, in readiness for its long incarceration." 

(The Quadrupeds of North America, by Audubon and Bachman, Volume 1, page 370)

Originally issued in 30 parts of five plates each, The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America was produced from 1845 to 1848 by the distinguished Philadelphia print maker, John T. Bowen. The set of 150 black-and-white lithographs was completely hand colored. Lithography proved an excellent medium for depicting the tactile realism of the mammals’ fur. Acclaimed as the definitive nineteenth-century work in the field of American mammalogy, the mammals were drawn by John James Audubon and John Woodhouse Audubon with backgrounds contributed by Victor Gifford Audubon. Their drawings were transferred to stone by W.E. Hitchcock and R. Trembly and lithographed and printed by J. T. Bowen. The prints were published in imperial folio size. 

 In perfect condition with beautiful original color. Imperial folio size, 21.5 x 27.5 inches.

$2,750 this week only (list price $3,500). Offer expires 3-12-17.

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John James Audubon’s last major accomplishment was the creation of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America which was produced in collaboration with his friend, the Reverend John Bachman (1790–1874), a Lutheran minister and naturalist, who wrote the accompanying text. In the summer of 1843, Audubon embarked on a final drawing expedition up the Missouri River to document and depict the four-legged mammals of North America.

America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785–1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to record the birds of America. The images he created are icons of 19th-century art. Though fascinated by nature since childhood, studying and drawing from it, it was not until 1819, when Audubon was 34, that he fully embraced the life of an artist-naturalist. Having found his calling, he set out on a mission to create the Birds of America, exploring the American backwoods and wilderness to discover, record, and illustrate its avian life. Unable to find an engraver in the United States who could produce his great work in the size of life, that issue was resolved when he reached the shores of Great Britain. Together with London engraver, Robert Havell, J. J. Audubon and his family created the lavish double-elephant-size folio of The Birds of America, published from 1827–38, thus spectacularly launching his career as an artist-naturalist and publisher of natural history folios depicting North American birds and animals.

References: Francis Hobart Herrick, Audubon the Naturalist, 1917

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