Audubon Bowen Ed. Pl. 23, Black Rat
Original Antique Print
22" x 28" (approximate)
The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, Bowen Edition
John James Audubon’s last major accomplishment was the creation of The Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America which was produced in collaboration with his friend, the Reverend John Bachman (1790—1874), a Lutheran minister and naturalist, who wrote the accompanying text. In the summer of 1843, John James Audubon embarked with his son, John Woodhouse, on a final drawing expedition up the Missouri River to document and depict the four-legged mammals of North America.
Produced from 1845 to 1848 by the distinguished Philadelphia print maker, John T. Bowen, the set of 150 black-and-white lithographs was completely hand-colored. Lithography proved an excellent medium for depicting the tactile realism of the mammals’ fur. These prints were published in imperial folio size, measuring 22 by 28 inches. Acclaimed as the definitive 19th-century work in the field of American mammalogy, many of the mammals were drawn by John Woodhouse Audubon with backgrounds contributed by Victor Gifford Audubon.
John James Audubon explored the American backwoods and wilderness to discover, record, and illustrate its avian life. America’s most revered artist-naturalist, John James Audubon (1785—1851), is renowned for his extraordinary undertaking to record the birds of America. The images he created are icons of 19th-century art. The images he created are icons of 19th-century art. Fascinated by nature since childhood, it was not until 1819, when he was the father of two sons, that John James Audubon fully embraced the life of an artist-naturalist. In 1820, John James Audubon left his family in Cincinnati, embarking with a young apprentice, Joseph R. Mason. Mason worked with John James Audubon from 1820 until 1822, contributing mostly botanical elements to about 55 of John James Audubon’s paintings. Later, the artists George Lehman, Maria Martin, and his sons Victor Gifford Audubon and John Woodhouse Audubon assisted John James Audubon with botanical and landscape backgrounds.
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