One of the great ornithological artists of his era, the multi-talented Edward Lear (1804 – 1888) was a self-taught naturalist and painter who later became famous for authoring books of nonsense poems and limericks. Edward Lear’s exacting and masterly skill as an artist was employed by other major publishers of nineteenth-century English ornithologies and natural histories. Edward Lear’s work is distinguished by the fact that he was among the first bird artists to draw primarily from living examples, recording not only the precise details of the birds he painted, but also expressing his ornithological subjects’ unique character. The plates Edward Lear contributed to John Gould’s Birds of Europe are among the finest of that work. These rare, beautifully hand-colored plates are signed by Lear on the lithographic stones.