John James Audubon, Pl. 103 Delafield's Ground-Warbler, hand-colored lithograph, first edition octavo, 1839–44
Acquire a superb first edition Audubon octavo print from the Birds of America, Plate 103, Delafield's Ground-Warbler, Trichus Delafieldii, Aud. after John James Audubon, at a special discount from our already low prices. A male of the species is depicted standing on a rock in a woodland scene with leaves and grasses.
In the accompanying text, Audubon writes, "This beautiful bird I named in honour of Colonel Delafield, President of the Lyceum of Natural History in the city of New York, a gentleman distinguished by his scientific atttainments, not less than by those accomplishments and virtues which tend to improve and adorn society. It so much resembles the Maryland Yellow-throat (Trichus Marilandica) Sylvia Trichus of the older authors, Trichas personatus of Swainson, that one might readily confound the two species. The differences between them will be easily seen on comparing their descriptions. The only specimen in my possession was obtained by Mr. Townsend [John Kirk Townsend, 1809–51), who procured it in California." Later, it was designated a sub-species of the Maryland Yellow-throat by the American Ornithologists Union.
In perfect condition, this beautifully hand-colored royal octavo lithograph includes an archival mat and measures approximately 10 x 6.5 inches.
References: John James Audubon, The Birds of America from Drawings made in the United States and Their Territories, re-issued by J. W. Audubon, 1861, Vol. I, pages 81–82; Roger Tory Peterson, All Things Reconsidered: My Birding Adventures, 2007, page 6.
$70 this week only (list price $100). Offer expires 5-15-17.
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.
To make The Birds of America more affordable and widely available, in 1839 Audubon began the first octavo edition, a smaller version of the folio which was printed and hand colored by J. T. Bowen in Philadelphia. Employing a new invention, the camera lucida, the images were reduced in size, rendered in intermediate drawings by Audubon and his son John Woodhouse, and then drawn onto lithographic stones. These miniatures exhibit a remarkable amount of attention to quality and detail, as well as a meticulous fidelity to the larger works. Some compositional changes were made in order to accommodate the smaller format.
Like the Havell edition, Audubon’s first octavo edition was sold by subscription and distributed in parts five at a time. However, the octavo editions were issued in proper phylogenic, or species order. These prints also bear the plate number in the upper right-hand corner and the subscription number in the upper left. The first edition of approximately 1,200 sets was completed in five years from 1839 to 1844.
Though the first edition remains the most desirable, several octavo editions of both the Birds and Quadrupeds were produced. In 1856, a second edition of the Birds was published by Audubon’s son, Victor Gifford. The octavo edition of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America was first published between 1849 and 1854.
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