Audubon Havell Ed. Pl 66, Ivory-billed Woodpecker

  • Type of Artwork

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Hand-colored aquatint engraving, 1827-1838
J. Whatman 1829 Watermark
38 1/2" x 25 7/8"

Audubon Havell Ed. Pl 66, Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Original Antique Print

38 1/2" x 25 7/8"
J. Whatman 1829 Watermark
Hand-colored aquatint engraving

The Birds of America Havell Edition

The lavish double-elephant-size folio of The Birds of America, spectacularly launched Audubon’s career as an artist-naturalist and publisher of natural history folios. In Edinburgh, the Scottish engraver W. H. Lizars began to produce the very first plates in 1826. However, after the completion of only ten plates, Lizars’ colorists went on strike. Work on the folio continued with the London engraver Robert Havell, who engraved and colored The Birds of America from 1827—1838. The completed work comprised 435 hand-colored engravings. Havell also retouched Lizars’ original efforts, adding aquatint to the engraving and etching. On those plates, Havell’s name appears alongside that of the Scottish engraver’s.

Audubon sold 186 subscriptions to the complete folio of The Birds of America, each of which commanded the princely sum of $1,000 — the cost of a substantial home at that time. Published on sheets measuring 26 1/2 by 39 inches, called “double elephant” by the printing trade, the aquatint engravings depict each subject in its actual size and are among the largest ever made. Still, Audubon often altered the larger birds’ natural postures, creatively composing the figure to fit within the dimensions of the sheet. Of the 186 complete sets produced, more than 100 are intact in library and museum collections worldwide. Since first produced by Havell over 175 years ago, few of the sets have been broken to make individual prints available for sale. Joel Oppenheimer, Inc. specializes in these rare, original engravings, maintaining an extensive inventory, many in exceptionally fine condition.

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. Fascinated by nature since childhood, it was not until 1819, when he was the father of two sons, that Audubon fully embraced the life of an artist-naturalist. In 1820, Audubon left his family in Cincinnati, embarking with a young apprentice, Joseph R. Mason. Mason worked with Audubon from 1820 until 1822, contributing mostly botanical elements to about 55 of 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.

Every antique work of art that you purchase at our gallery or on our website is guaranteed to be authentic and of the finest quality. All of our prints include any conservation work required to assure that your acquisition is archivally stable and will last for generations when cared for properly.

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Specifications for Audubon Havell Ed. Pl 66, Ivory-billed Woodpecker

Type of Artwork Antique Original