Issued in 1856, the 2nd edition octavo Audubon prints from The Birds of America was published by his son, Victor Gifford, in response to the success of the 1st miniature edition.
Many of the 2nd edition octavos contain elements of chromolithography in addition to the hand-coloring and can differentiate in appearance from their 1st edition counterparts through the presence of a tinted background. This miniature edition, often referred to as the 2nd Royal Octavo Edition, contains 500 lithographs measuring approximately 6 ½” x 10 ¼”. In the printing process, two lithography stones were used; one to delineate the imagery with black ink and the second to create an atmospheric tint, often in blue or green. The prints were then finished with hand-applied color. Issued in phylogenic order with like species grouped together, the 2nd Edition Octavo Audubon Prints were accompanied by Audubon’s text, the Ornithological Biography, which detailed each of the depicted species. The result was a comprehensive, highly informative work of art that catered to both naturalists and appreciators of art alike.
For more information, check out our articles Audubon Print Collecting Guide, Audubon’s Miniature Folio – The Octavo Edition of Birds of America, and What is a Lithograph?.