John Gould, Pl. 46 Blue-throated Sabre-wing, Family of Hummingbirds, first edition, 1849–87, hand-colored lithograph
$3,150 this week only (list price $4,800). Offer expires 4-10-2017


John Gould, Pl. 46 Blue-throated Sabre-wing, Family of Hummingbirds, 1849–87, hand-colored lithograph

Enjoy special pricing on Pl. 46, Blue-throated Sabre-wing Campylopterus ensipennis, Swainsa superb original hand-colored lithograph from John Gould’s Family of Hummingbirds. As an artist-naturalist, an intrinsic part of Gould’s mission was to not only to depict, but to scientifically identify, name, and describe the attributes of each hummingbird. In the preface to this work, Gould states, ”I have been unceasing in my endeavors to obtain every species which has been discovered by enterprising travellers of this country, of Germany, of France, and of America.”

Drawn in the size of life and lithographed by J. Gould and H. C. Richter, a male and female are depicted with a magnificent botanical, Dipladenia harrisi. In this finely detailed lithograph, the color of the the throat and wings of the birds is magnificently heightened with gold leaf and gum arabic. In perfect condition, 21.375 x 14.375 inches.

In the text description entry for this species native to the West Indian Islands, Gould states, “The boldness of its markings and the brightness of its colouring render it one of the most beautiful [of its species]. Although the female is not so brightly coloured as her mate, she assimilates more closely to him in her dress than do the females of the other brilliantly coloured species to theirs; she is, however, somewhat smaller, and has the blue of the throat less conspicuous....” 

$3,150 this week only (list price $4,800). Offer expires 4-10-17.

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Considered Gould’s masterpiece in both breadth and beauty, Monograph of the Trochilidae or Family of Humming Birds comprises 418 plates. It was originally published in London in five volumes in 25 parts (1849–61), plus volume six, a five-part supplement, (1880–87). Depicted and lithographed on stone by artists John Gould, Henry Constantin Richter and William Mathew Hart, each plate exquisitely portrays these delicate, evocatively colored birds with the flowers indigenous to their area. Strong botanical elements add a dimension not found in other bird folios. A Family of Humming Birds also displays a tour de force of the hand-colored lithograph as a medium. Gold leaf, transparent oil colors, watercolors, lacquers and gum arabic are combined to capture the iridescent quality of these most colorful of birds.

John Gould (1804–1881) was a prolific publisher of ornithological subjects. In 19th-century Europe, his name was as well known 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. Although 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 career. During a career spanning over half a century, John Gould oversaw the publication of more than a dozen folios on birds of the world.

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John Gould, Pl. 46 Blue-throated Sabre-wing, Family of Hummingbirds, first edition, 1849–87, hand-colored lithograph
Laura Oppenheimer 30 March, 2017
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