Prideaux John Selby, Vol. 1, Pl. 12 Goshawk, Adult, Illustrations of British Ornithology, 1821–34, hand-colored engraving

$950 this week only (list price $1,400). Offer expires 1-15-2018

Laura Oppenheimer

Prideaux John Selby, Vol. 1, Pl. 12 Goshawk, Adult male, Illustrations of British Ornithology, 1821–34, hand-colored engraving

Acquire a superb hand-colored engraving from Prideaux John Selby’s Illustrations of British Ornithology, Pl. 12, Goshawk, Adult, Falco palumbarius (Linn.), offered this week only at a special price. In the accompanying text, Selby notes that this powerful species of falcon is rarely met with in England. It is considered to be "the best and most courageous of the short-winged hawks by falconers, and was accordingly trained to the pursuit of grouse, pheasants, wild geese, herons, etc." 

An excellent impression with wide margins, this richly hand-colored engraving is in perfect condition with pristine color. Whatman paper. Elephant folio size, 20.125 x 25.625 inches.

 $950 this week only (list price $1,400). Offer expires 1-15-18.

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The artist-naturalist Prideaux John Selby (1788 – 1867) was born in Northumberland, England to a prominent family. As a child, he exhibited a strong interest in ornithology, and by the time he was 12 or 13 years old he had composed his first illustrated notes on common British birds. Selby became a member of the Wernerian Natural History Society in Edinburgh at an early age. His interests in natural history extended into forestry and entomology, but his devotion to the subject of ornithology was primary.

Selby’s large-scale engravings were the first work of ornithology to depict British birds in the size of life. Comprising two volumes with a total of 222 engravings, Illustrations of British Ornithology was published in Edinburgh in 19 parts from 1821 to 1834. Created during the same period that Audubon was publishing the Birds of America, both Audubon and Selby employed the Scottish engraver W. H. Lizars. A highly skilled engraver himself, Selby employed Lizars’ services only for printing and coloring his own exquisite copper plates. Copies vary, and depending on the folio 222 or 218 of the engravings were hand-colored, many by Daniel McNee.

Twenty-six of the plates were drawn by Selby’s brother-in-law, Admiral Mitford, and the rest were executed by Selby, who obtained most of the specimens for the drawings himself. Selby engravings are printed on elephant folio size Whatman paper that is watermarked with the date the paper was made. Audubon also used Whatman paper for the Havell edition of Birds of America.

For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.

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