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Pl. 273 Golden-Winged Woodpecker (Northern Flicker) The Birds of America, from Drawings Made in the United States and Their Territories
New York & Philadelphia:: Audubon, J. J. & Chevalier, J.B.,, 1840-44.. The First Royal Octavo. Matted in Ivory Rag Board . Fine condition with bright original hand-coloring/ . A fine original hand-colored lithograph on paper. Sheet size: 6.5 x 10.25 inches. Drawn from nature by J. J. Audubon, FRS, FLS and lithographed, printed and colored by JT Bowen, Philadelphia from The First Royal Octavo Edition of John James Audubon's The Birds of America. Includes the text from Audubon's Ornithological Biography. The Royal Octavo Edition of The Birds of America represents John James Audubon's desire to create a democratic (affordable) work based his magnum opus; the Double Elephant Folio Edition of The Birds of America. Satisfied with his research, as well as his portrayals of North America's native and distinct bird species, J.J. Audubon here rendered a miniature yet unique version of The Birds of America. As is the case with prolific artists, Audubon continued to improve upon a body of work which was viewed as perfection. During the mid-19th century, there were no photomechanical means of reproduction, every composition was then redrawn by hand, with the aid of the Camera Lucida. For this Royal Octavo Edition Audubon and his assistants translated the 435 compositions of the Double Elephant Folio edition into 500 unique compositions of individual species. Previously documented groups of heretofore unrelated birds were now separated and divided according to species, and portrayed either on a new botanical perch or within a renewed landscape. Unlike the life-sized portraits of the Double Elephant Folio edition each bird was now sized to scale on the octavo-sized plate; approximately 6.5 x 10.25 inches. With this slight alteration, Audubon created a perfected composition, and thus offered a charming vignette view of the bird, or family of birds in its natural setting. For the Royal Octavo Edition, Audubon enlisted America's premier lithographers, JT Bowen and Co. in Philadelphia and Endicott in New York to produce the work. Every composition was drawn on a limestone tablet, inked, printed and then hand-colored with watercolor. In this format Audubon presented the undocumented birds discovered during his explorations of the American West, but not previously included in the Double Elephant Folio Edition of The Birds of America. As with the folio edition, the Royal Octavo Edition was sold by subscription. One hundred individual packets of five hand-colored lithographs and accompanying text; Audubon's Ornithological Biography, was sent to the subscriber. It was issued the first and fifteenth of each month for four subsequent years. The pagination of the Royal Octavo Edition was organized to be bound in seven volumes. This successful and popular work of American ornithology was produced in an eventual eight editions, the final edition of which was issued in 1870 by George Lockwood, New York. (Wood, Casey. An Introduction to the Literature of Vertebrate Literature. London: Oxford University Press, 1931. Tyler, Ron. Audubon's Great National Work. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1993. )
      [Bookseller: Lowry-James Rare Prints & Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-06-17           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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