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Avocet. Recurvirostra avocetta; (Linn)
London 1837 - This splendid hand-colored, folio-size lithograph, Avocet. Recurvirostra avocetta; (Linn), from John Gould’s (1804-1881) monumental book "Birds Europe" (1832-1837) is in good condition with light foxing and staining throughout and evidence of verso page text. Measuring 14.75" x 21.5", this lithograph magnificently displays the author’s scientific skill and attention to detail. Commonly called Pied Avocet, this large wading bird is finely colored in black and white with blueish legs. The upturned bill, an Avocet characteristic allows for easier feeling in the shallow waters where live. John Gould 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 an 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 able 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. His wife Elizabeth and other artists were able to transfer his sketches to stone; hand print and hand-color them. One of the most accomplished and engaging natural history works of the 19th century, “The Birds of Europe” was also the first of Gould's works to feature plates by Edward Lear. A total of sixty-eight images bear Lear's name, and they are among the most remarkable bird drawings ever made. Lear endowed his illustrations with some measure of his own whimsy and intelligence, and his style is at once fluidly spontaneous and realistically precise. In this way, the images of “The Birds of Europe” are amazingly distinctive, while also highly realistic. Gould undertook this work partly in an effort to redress the imbalance between the study of local and foreign ornithology. Gould portrayed birds native to Europe in a manner that had only been thought appropriate for the colorful species of distant places. In this way he managed to draw much popular interest back to native birds, which were suddenly considered equally beautiful to exotic species.
      [Bookseller: Arader Galleries San Francisco]
Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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