Alexander Wilson, Pl. 38 Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow, American Ornithology, hand-colored engraving, 1808–29
Acquire Pl 38 Barn Swallow, Bank Swallow, a fine antique engraving from Alexander Wilson's American Ornithology, the first ornithology published in America—specially priced this week only. The species depicted in the plate are: Hirundo americana, (Barn Swallow—Fig 1, Male—Fig 2 Female); Hirundo viridis (White-bellied Swallow—Fig 3, ); and Hirundo riparia (Bank Swallow or Sand Martin—Fig. 4). Drawn from nature by A. Wilson, engraved by J. Warnicke.
In perfect condition, richly hand-colored engraving, excellent impression, 13.875 x 11.375 inches.
$425 this week only (list price $650). Offer expires 4-3-17.
Born in Paisley, Scotland, Alexander Wilson (1766–1813) was a weaver of silk, a peddler, and published author of poetry and social satire. Briefly jailed for libel over satirical poems, Wilson immigrated to the United States in 1794 and established himself in Philadelphia.
Learning in 1801 of Bartram’s Garden, a center for the scientific study of nature established in 1728 by the botanist and naturalist, John Bartram, he met William Bartram, John Bartram’s son and successor in operating the garden. William Bartram fostered Wilson’s interest in ornithology, and in 1803 they began to collect “all [the] finest birds [in the United States].” Wilson traveled observing birds and collecting specimens before returning to Philadelphia. The first of nine volumes of American Ornithology was published by Bradford and Inskeep in 1808.
The first comprehensive work published on the subject, American Ornithology, added 39 new species to those previously known and earned Wilson the title “Father of American Ornithology.” Far more accurate than those who preceded him in the field of ornithology, his engravings and descriptions were well recognized in his lifetime. Wilson never recovered from his last exhausting river crossing in pursuit of an elusive specimen. He died in 1813 at age 47, one volume short of completing American Ornithology.
Comprising 76 hand-colored engravings, American Ornithology depicts 262 species of birds. It is the first American ornithology published in in America. We offer a large selection of Wilson’s work. All plates are in excellent condition. These museum-quality, hand-colored engravings remain very affordable. In fact, we feel that Wilson’s work is undervalued
For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.