The Audubon Havell Ed. Pl 27, Red-headed Woodpecker is an exquisite 19th-century, hand-colored engraving capturing this North American species.
The delicacy of the engraved lines, subtle tonal modulation of the aquatint, and vibrancy of the hand-applied color cause this magnificent bird to come to life on the page. As a testament to the antique printing process, a platemark can be found outside the image area in the form of a rectangular depression in the sheet. Similarly, as with all full-size original Audubon engravings, this print contains a Whatman watermark in the margins of the sheet, signifying its unquestionable authenticity.
As part of the first and most valuable edition of the Birds of America, Audubon Havell Ed. Pl 27, Red-headed Woodpecker is a testament to the legacy of Audubon’s artistry and a treasure for art collectors and naturalists alike. Enrich your art collection and enliven your environment with this unique piece of American history.
About Audubon’s Havell edition of the Birds of America
Audubon’s lavish Havell edition folio of The Birds of America spectacularly launched his career as an artist-naturalist and solidified his placement in the canon of early American art. His monumental project was produced between 1827 and 1836 by London printmaker Robert Havell Jr., after a short-lived attempt by Scottish engraver W. H. Lizars, who produced the first ten plates but was forced to relinquish the project after his colorists went on strike.
Engraved with aquatint on 26 1/2″ x 39″ double-elephant folio-size sheets of Whatman paper, the Havell edition prints capture the tantalizing detail and life-like quality of Audubon’s birds. Rendered at life-size, Audubon’s birds are some of the largest representations ever made. Once complete, Audubon’s folio comprised 435 prints, which were issued to 186 subscribers for the costly sum of $ 1,000 each — the cost of a substantial home at that time. Of the 186 complete sets produced, more than 100 are intact in library and museum collections worldwide. Since their production by Robert Havell over 175 years ago, a number of the folios have been disassembled to make the prints available for individual sale. Joel Oppenheimer, Inc. specializes in these rare, original engravings, maintaining an extensive inventory, many in exceptionally fine condition.
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 Havell Ed. Pl 27, Red-headed Woodpecker, email us at [email protected] or check out our articles Audubon Print Collecting Guide, What are the differences between an Audubon Havell engraving and Bien Lithograph, and A Modernist Approach to Understanding a Selection of Prints from Audubon’s Birds of America?