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HALMATURUS BILLARDIERII - Tasmanian Pademelon
London 1845 - This superb folio-sized lithograph with original hand-color from John Gould’s monumental work MAMMALS OF AUSTRALIA, published in London from 1845-1863, is in excellent condition measures 15”x 22” and magnificently displays the author's scientific skill and attention to detail.HALMATURUS BILLARDIERII, more commonly known as the Tasmanian Pademelon is found abundantly on the island of Tasmania. John Gould was without question the most prolific natural history artist of the nineteenth century. He worked during a period of intense fascination with discoveries in natural history, especially regarding knowledge of the wildlife of exotic lands. Gould shared the romantic enthusiasm of his time for such subjects, as well as the popular impulse to catalog exotic wildlife. He combined his passion for natural history with outstanding scientific, artistic, and entrepreneurial talents. Gould became captivated by the mammals of Australia during his time gathering specimens for the Birds of Australia. As he recounted in the preface: “It was not until I arrived in the country, and found myself surrounded by objects as strange as if I had been transported to another planet, that I conceived the idea of devoting a portion of my attention to the mammalian class of its extraordinary fauna.” Gould produced The Mammals of Australia in an attempt to document the animals of that continent as exhaustively as he had its birds. The artist had a sense that a book on animals would not be as successful financially as his work on birds, for he was straying outside the area in which he was most distinguished. Yet the precision of the lavish illustrations was a testament to Gould's ability -- and that of the artists with whom he collaborated -- to embrace diverse fields with equal talent. Despite Gould's lack of optimism, the Mammals of Australia received immediate acclaim of documenting striking species that were all but unknown (including several which have since gone extinct). The book continues to be considered one of the most important works that Gould ever produced. Rich, vibrant color is an important attribute of the best 19th Century prints. Many prints by John Gould found on the market today have modern color that affects both the appearance and the value of these great works. John Gould died in 1881 still actively illustrating and producing fine natural history books. His stock of unsold copies, unbound text and plates in various states, lithographic stones, drawings and paintings, amounted to nearly three tons. Many of the uncolored pulls from his works have been recolored in the last thirty years, and these are often found on the market. Fortunately, the difference between original and modern color can be discerned by looking carefully at the print. When modern color is applied to 180 year old paper, the application is inconsistent; the cellulose of the aged paper has begun to breakdown and can no longer evenly absorb the watercolors, resulting in a splotchy uneven appearance. All of the Gould prints in Arader Galleries' inventory have exquisite original color. The vastly superior quality of original color can be clearly differentiated from new color by its smooth and even appearance. The inks have noticeably deeper, richer tones. The difference can also be seen in the lovely surface "sheen" that results from the application of gum arabic when the lithograph was first pulled. The hand coloring of engravings and lithographs reached its zenith in the 19th Century. Works that still display their original color are more rewarding to view, and will better hold their value in the years to come.
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries San Francisco]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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