John J. Audubon, Pl. 11 Northern Hare, Summer, hand-colored lithograph, Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen edition, 1845–48
Enjoy special pricing on Plate 11 Northern Hare, Summer, Lepus Americanus, Erxleben. a superb hand-colored lithograph after John James Audubon from the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845–48). Audubon's lyrical composition represents a male and young female in summer pelage captures the Hares' long legs in swift motion, as they are likely being chased by some unseen predator. In the winter the color of the Northern Hare's fur undergoes a change to almost pure white. Because of this dramatic difference in coloration, Audubon represented it separately in Plate 12, Northern Hare, Winter.
In the accompanying text, John Bachman provides a detailed description of the habits of the Northern hare and corrects issues with its proper identification, stating that "strange mistakes were committed by some of those who wrote on the subject, from Pennant down to Harlan, Godman, and others still later, and one error seems to have led to another, until even the identity of the species meant to be described by different authors, was finally involved in an almost inextricable web of embarrassment." Range, habits, and naming of the gray rabbit and that of the Northern hare had been confused by previous naturalists and repeated in succeeding descriptions in natural history literature. "The history of this Hare has been attempted from time to time, by early and recent travelers and naturalists, and most of their accounts of it are only sources of perplexity..."
After giving an account of the previous errors on the subject, Bachman writes of his own work on the subject.
"In 1837, having several new species of Hare to describe, we began to look into this subject, and endeavored to correct the errors in regard to the species, that had crept into the works of various authors.
We had not seen Erxleben's work, and supposing that the species were correctly designated, we published our views on the habits, &c., of the two species, (whose identity and proper cognomen we have, we hope, just established,) under the old names of L. Virginianus and L. Americanus, (see Jour. of Acad. of Nat. Sciences of Phila., vol. vii, pl. 2. p. 282). The article had scarcely been printed, before we obtained a copy of Erxleben, and we immediately perceived and corrected that had been committed, giving the Northern Hare its correct name, L. Americanus, and bestowing on the gray rabbit, which, through the mistakes we have already described had been left without any name, that of Lepus sylvanticus, (Jour. Acad. Nat. Sciences of Phila., vol. vii., p. 403.)"
—The Quadrupeds of North America, by Audubon and Bachman, Volume I, 1849, pgs. 101-104
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. These prints were published in imperial folio size, measuring 22 by 28 inches. Acclaimed as the definitive nineteenth-century work in the field of American mammalogy, many of the mammals were drawn by John Woodhouse Audubon with backgrounds contributed by Victor Gifford Audubon.
In perfect condition with beautiful original color. Imperial folio size, 20.25 x 26.75 inches.
$7,850 this week only (list price $12,000). Offer expires 7-10-17.
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 with his son, John Woodhouse, 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.
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