The Audubon 1st Ed. Octavo Pl. 87 Blackburnian Wood – Warbler captures Audubon’s seminal imagery on a convenient 10 ¼” × 6 ½” scale.
Initially issued by Audubon as a portable and affordable alternative to his monumental double-elephant folio prints, the Octavo edition remains popular for these same reasons today. Whether displayed individually or as a curated collection, Audubon’s First Edition Octavos add elegance and sophistication to any space. Own an original Audubon today and enrich your environment with this significant piece of American natural history.
About the Birds of America
John James Audubon’s Birds of America is a highly influential work of American art and ornithological study. The Audubon prints feature detailed illustrations of North American bird species in their natural habitats, portrayed at life-size. Audubon spent two decades on this project, exploring the wilderness of America, gathering specimens, sketching birds, and meticulously documenting his observations.
Audubon’s illustrations are known for their remarkable detail and ability to capture the unique characteristics of each species. To ensure accuracy, he used various methods such as extensive field observation and referencing taxidermy specimens. He also developed a technique of wiring freshly caught birds to a gridded board, allowing him to position them realistically and depict them with precision in terms of scale, color, and movement.
After the success of his monumental double-elephant folio publication, Audubon began producing a second, smaller edition of the Birds of America in order to make the publication more affordable and widely available. This miniature edition, often referred to as the 1st Royal Octavo Edition, contains 500 hand-colored lithographs measuring approximately 6 ½” x 10 ¼”. The 1st edition Octavo Audubon prints were lithographed and hand-colored by the studio of J.T. Bowen in Philadelphia from 1839 to 1844. Issued alongside the printed plates, Audubon included portions of his text, the Ornithological Biography, with the Octavo edition. The result was a comprehensive, highly informative work of art that catered to both naturalists and appreciators of art alike.
About John James Audubon
America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785—1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to visually record the birds and mammals of North America. His publications The Birds of America & The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America are icons of 19th-century art and capture the nascent stages of American natural history.
Born in 1785 in Les Cayes, Santo Domingo (Haiti) to a Creole mother and French father, Audubon spent the early years of his life in France but moved to America at age 18. It was during this time that his appreciation for birds flourished and he developed a keen artistic acumen for rendering wildlife. It was not until 1819 when Audubon was married and the father of two sons, that he embraced the life of artist-naturalist and embarked on his venture through the backwoods of America with the intent of illustrating the avian life he encountered there.
Audubon’s muti-decade venture resulted in the publication of his monumental folio The Birds of America which documented over 700 bird species on 435 plates. In a similar manner and with the help of his two sons and his friend Reverend John Bachman, Audubon later produced The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, which contained 150 plates depicting the mammals of North America. Audubon’s folios were seismic in the fields of ornithology and mammalogy and set a new precedent for natural history illustration.
For more information about the Audubon 1st Ed. Octavo Pl. 87 Blackburnian Wood – Warbler, email us at [email protected] or check out our articles Audubon’s Miniature Folio – The Octavo Edition of Birds of America and Audubon Collecting Guide.