Gould Birds of Europe Pl. 253, Common Ptarmigan
Original Antique Print
21 3/8" x 14 3/8" (approximate)
Birds of Europe
John Gould (1804—1881) was the most prolific publisher of ornithological subjects of all time. In 19th-century Europe, his name was as well known as John James Audubon’s was in North America. John Gould's love of natural history was fostered in the gardens of King George III where his father was chief gardener at Windsor Castle. Although trained as a gardener, John Gould’s interests soon evolved. He moved to London where he worked as a taxidermist, and at the age of 27, he was appointed taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London. After three years, he progressed to the position of curator of birds and chief taxidermist. In 1830, newly married, John Gould and his artist wife, Elizabeth, began their publishing career.
Unlike John James Audubon, whose life’s work focused on one region, John Gould traveled widely and employed other artists to help create his lavish, hand-colored lithographic folios. Among John Gould's renowned works is the monumental Birds of Europe, originally published in 22 parts from 1832 to 1837 and A Monograph of the Trochilidae or Family of Humming-Birds (1849-87), considered Gould’s masterpiece in both breath and beauty.
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