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Platycercus Pacificus, Pacific Parrakeet
London 1832 - Edward Lear (1812-1888) is fondly remembered for his books of nonsense and for popularizing the limerick, but he was also a prolific watercolorist, who as a young man earned his livelihood and achieved recognition as an illustrator of birds and animals. Born in the north London suburb of Holloway on 12 May 1812, he was the youngest of twenty-one children born to Jeremiah and Ann Lear. His childhood was one of outward prosperity but in 1825, his father, a stockbroker, was ruined by a financial crisis brought on by unfortunate speculation, and consigned to the debtor's prison. At the age of fifteen the young and somewhat sickly Edward had to start earning his own living drawing and assisting printsellers. In 1830, at the age of 18, Lear obtained permission to work as a draughtsman at the Zoological Society gardens, located at Regent’s Park. The following year he moved with his sister, Ann, to nearby lodgings in Albany Street, in order to be close to his work and during the course of the next two years devoted his time to recording the different members of the parrot family. He was encouraged in this task by N. A. Vigors, John Gould and Lord Stanley and between 1830 and 1832 “Illustrations of the Family Psittacidae, or Parrots” was published in parts. Lear’s publication was innovative in several significant ways. Unlike previous bird artists, he drew whenever possible from life rather than stuffed specimens, thus combining anatomical accuracy and subtlety of detail with the pose and expression of the living, moving bird. Lear also employed the relatively new medium of lithography which, by dispensing with the need for professional engravers, allowed him to retain complete artistic control over all stages of his work. This expertly hand-colored lithograph, Platycercus Pacificus, Pacific Parrakeet, measures 21" x 14.5" and is in very good condition with foxing and spotting throughout. This parakeet is vibrantly colored and detailed, against the faint sketch-like background, making it the focal piece of this lithograph. This bird had a vibrant green body with a red forehead, ear spots and underwing, with blue flank and wingtips and green tail-feathers. Precise lines define and detail each feather of this bird, giving dimension to this dynamic image.
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries San Francisco]
Last Found On: 2014-10-02           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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