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Tanysiptera Nympha (Red-Breasted Paradise Kingfisher)
London 1875 - John Gould (1804-1881) was an English ornithologist, self-taught artist and naturalist. Gould first worked as a gardener under his father in the Royal Gardens of Windsor, from 1818-1824, where he began his illustrations. He became and expert taxidermist, opening his own practice in London in 1824 and in 1827 he became the first Curator and Preserver at the museum of the Zoological Society of London. Through his work he was about to meet with the country’s leading naturalists and view new collections of birds given to the Zoological Society. His interest in birds was continually developing and in 1830 he published his first volume on birds, “A Century of Birds From the Himalaya Mountains.” For the next fifty years, Gould, his wife and artists working with them traveled around Asia, the East Indies and Australia. While is Papua New Guinea, he decided to embark on a final folio as a complement to his unprecedented Birds of Asia. The Birds of New Guinea was Gould's last full-scale work, left incomplete on his death in 1881. Gould completed twelve of the twenty-five parts, and the task of finishing the project fell to Richard Bowdler Sharpe, a superbly qualified successor, who had been Gould's colleague, assistant and friend. One of Gould's most exotic works, the five magnificent volumes of the Birds of New Guinea contain an extensive series of beautiful images of birds of paradise, bower birds, parrots, parakeets, cockatoos, kingfishers and hawk-owls. All of the 320 images are extraordinary for their color and artistry, interesting backdrops and animated compositions. Gould and Sharpe created some of their most engaging and active scenes of bird life in the Birds of New Guinea, and the great popular reception of the work was such that it was one of their only productions that led to a sequel, Sharp's Birds of Paradise (1891-98). Missing from that later production, however, was the almost overwhelming variety of species of the Birds of New Guinea, which, like the Birds of Asia, was the most comprehensive chronicle of the island's ornithology ever issued. This folio size, hand-colored lithograph, Tanysiptera Nympha, measures 21.5" x 14.75" and is in mint condition. This bird, commonly known as the Red-breasted Paradise Kindfisher, is illustrated resting on branch after just catching a lizard. The rich colors of this bird, blue and orange are further highlighted by the black and white accents. The fine detailing of the feathers completes this dynamic lithograph. Set in a lush water environment, another Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher is seen flying in the background.
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries San Francisco]
Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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