Tuesday, October 17, 2006

American Land Birds

Wild Turkey - Male and female

Wild Turkey - Male and female


head of Wild Turkey
Wild Turkey [detail]


head of Female Yellow-Headed Blackbird
Female Yellow-Headed Blackbird


Orange-Crowned Warbler
Orange-Crowned Warbler


Female Cape May Warbler
Female Cape May Warbler


Female American Goldfinch
Female American Goldfinch


Fork-Tailed Flycatcher, Rocky Mountain Antcatcher, Female Golden-Winged Warbler
Fork-Tailed Flycatcher, Rocky Mountain Antcatcher,
Female Golden-Winged Warbler


Crimson-Necked Bullfinch
Crimson-Necked Bullfinch


Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl


head of Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl [detail]


Arkansas Siskin
Arkansas Siskin


These wonderful hand-coloured engravings come from 'American Ornithology, or, The Natural History of Birds Inhabiting the United States, Not Given by Wilson : With Figures Drawn, Engraved, and Coloured, from Nature' - Volume 1 by Charles Lucien Bonaparte, 1825 which is online at the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin (note ' Display gallery view' in the sidebar). There are 25 plates in total, in multiple formats.

The preface (and title, of course) makes clear that Bonaparte (a nephew of Napoleon) was attempting to complete the ornithological series on America started by Alexander Wilson, who died in 1813 while writing a ninth volume. The present work pertains to land birds and a further 2 or 3 volumes were released up until 1833.

Bonaparte was unsuccessful in his attempt to have a young John James Audubon accepted as a member of the Academy of Natural Sciences. He eventually returned to his native Europe and published a book on italian animals.

The illustration work above was produced by Titian Peale but more interesting to me was learning that the copper plate engraving was carried out by Alexander Lawson. One of my favourite discoveries since starting this site was the eclectic sketch album collection of Lawson (i, ii).

All of the above images have had minor touch ups to background age-related artifact. I originally posted this book to Mefi last year so you could say that this is via some mysterioso named peacay.

3 comments :

tom_u said...

Gould, Birds of Australia – I just read about this auction in a german newspaper and thought, this might be interesting for you.

Anonymous said...

I like the owl - she is looking so wise :-) [in Germany an owl is female]

pk said...

Tom U, that page link is used for most results so it doesn't go direct to Gould. From this page (which is interesting just to look around in), put 'Gould' in the search box.

Thanks Digitis. That makes a lot of sense!

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