John Gould, Pl. 47 Tawny or Wood Owl, hand-colored lithograph, Birds of Europe, first edition, 1833–37

$2,850 this week only (list price $4,200). Offer expires 7-3-2017

John Gould, Pl. 47 Tawny or Wood Owl, hand-colored lithograph, Birds of Europe, first edition, 1833–37
Laura Oppenheimer


John Gould, Pl. 47 Tawny or Wood Owl, hand-colored lithograph, Birds of Europe, first edition, 1832–37

Enjoy significant savings on  Pl. 47, Tawny or Wood Owl, Strix aluco (Linn.), Syrnium aluco, (Savigny), a superb hand-colored lithograph from John Gould’s Birds of Europe. Drawn from nature by John and Elizabeth Gould, a male bird is figured in the size of life. Gould notes in the accompanying text that the "females when compared with the males are larger in size and darker in color, approaching a deep red brown." He also states that the Tawny Owl inhabits most of the large forests in Europe and, with the exception of the Barn Owl, it is the most abundant of its species in Great Britain.

Comprising 448 hand-colored folio-size lithographs in five volumes, John Gould’s monumental Birds of Europe was originally published in 22 parts from 1832 to 1837. The five volumes were classed according to a system designed by the zoologist and politician, Nicholas Aylward Vigors (1785–1840). Vigors co-founded the London Zoological Society in 1826. The majority of the plates were drawn and lithographed by Gould’s talented wife, Elizabeth Coxen Gould, from sketches by John Gould. The artist and author, Edward Lear, contributed 67 of the plates and many of the foregrounds.

In perfect condition, printed by C. Hullmandel and colored by Gabriel Bayfield in London, 1832–1837. Sheet size measures 14.5 x 21 inches.

$2,850 this week only (list price $4,200). Offer expires7-3-17.

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John Gould (1804–81) was a prolific publisher of ornithological subjects. In 19th-century Europe, his name was as well recognized 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. Initially 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 venture. During a career spanning over half a century, John Gould oversaw the publication of more than a dozen folios on birds of the world.

Among Gould’s many folios are A Monograph of Ramphastidae or Family of Toucans (1834 and 1854), the most flamboyant of Gould’s works. Monograph of the Trochilidae or Family of Humming Birds (1849–61) is Gould’s masterpiece in both breadth and beauty. Produced in London 1862–73, The Birds of Great Britain is considered to be the culmination of Gould's career.

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