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AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. The Birds of America; from Original Drawings. London: Published by the Author 1827-1828.
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AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. The Birds of America; from Original Drawings. London: Published by the Author 1827-1828.\n\n4 vols., double elephant folio, 996 x 667 mm. (39 1/4 x 26 1/8 in.) etc. Bound upon completion of the work (the flyleaves of vol. 1 watermarked "J Whatman 1838"), in the sequence of bird families, in accordance with Audubon's Synopsis of the Birds of North America (Edinburgh 1839), with light pencil foliation, in half russia gilt over purple cloth sides, marbled endpapers. Rebacked and corners now renewed with gilt-tooled calf in replication of the original, and with the original stitching preserved, each volume in a protective cloth-over-wood portfolio, all by Aquarius of London.\n\nFIRST EDITION, engraved titles and 435 hand-colored etchings with aquatint engraving, by William Home Lizars of Edinburgh, Robert Havell, Sr. and Robert Havell, Jr. of London, after Audubon's original life-size watercolors, on J. Whatman and J. Whatman Turkey Mill paper with watermarks dated 1826-1838.\n\nAN EXCEPTIONALLY FINE COPY, THE PLATES IN SUPERB, VIVIDLY COLORED IMPRESSIONS AND SHOWING REMARKABLY LITTLE EVIDENCE OF HANDLING. The unusual method of binding the plates by families, and not by the numerical and chronological sequence in which they were published, has allowed the traditional first plates from each volume (Turkey cock, Raven, Canada Goose and Canvas-backed Duck) to remain in especially fine condition.\n\n[with]\n\nAUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. Ornithological Biography; or, an Account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, accompanied by descriptions of the objects represented in the work entitled The Birds of America, and interspersed with delineations of American scenery and manners. Edinburgh: Adam Black 1831-39. 5 vols., 8vo [binding description]. FIRST EDITION. Volume I is the Copyright deposit copy.\n\nBound in at end of volume I: AUDUBON. [Prospectus for The Birds of America]. Under the Special Patronage of Her Most Excellent Majesty, Queen Adelaide. The Birds of America, engraved from drawings...by John James Audubon. London: Published by the Author; and to be seen at Mr. R. Havell's Jun. the engraver. 1831. 8 leaves. Sixth Edition [i.e. Fries's Edition E], published upon completion of the first 100 plates and with the names of 180 subscribers. Fries, Appendix F, pp. 385-389 (not recording this copy).\n\nRare. Fries records a total of 16 copies of all of the six editions of the prospectus to The Birds of America. We can add two more to this number: the present copy from the University of Edinburgh and a copy of edition D sold at Christie's New York, 17 November 1978, lot 77. (Additionally, Fries's no. 15 is incorrectly noted as edition D; it is edition E [sold, Christie's New York, 22 May 1981, lot 186]). Of the 18 copies, one copy each of editions A, B and F are recorded; four copies each of editions C and D; six copies of edition E; and one copy of an unidentified edition.\n\n[with]\n\nAUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. A Synopsis of the Birds of North America. Edinburgh: H. & C. Black 1839. 8vo, [binding description].\n\nPROVENANCE\nThe University of Edinburgh, the original subscriber, is shown as number 9 on Audubon's final list of European subscribers published in 1839. The subscription was taken up on 7 December 1826. On that day Audubon wrote in his journal, "Received a short note from Professor Jameson desiring that I should put the University of Edinburgh [down] as a subscriber for my work. I was highly pleased with this, [it] being a powerful leader." (The 1826 Journal of John James Audubon, ed. Alice Ford, New York 1987, p. 376). The change in the numeration of the plates from Arabic to Roman after plate 50 (see below) in conjunction with the dates of the watermarks, shows that the subscription must have lapsed in ca. 1829 and was resumed in ca. 1832 (see Fries, Appendices H and M).\n\nPUBLICATION OF The Birds of America\nThe original plan for publication of The Birds of America was for 80 parts of five plates each: a total of 400 plates. Discoveries of new species, particularly those made by Thomas Nuttall and John Kirk Townsend on the Wyeth expedition to the Columbia River in 1834, compelled Audubon to expand the work which was completed in 87 parts with a total of 435 plates. In order that subscribers should have full value for their money (two guineas per part), each part was generally published showing plates of one large, one medium and three small species. Towards the end of the project, in order to accommodate the new discoveries and to alleviate costs, Audubon and Havell placed several species together on single plates. Altogether 489 supposed species are represented by 1,065 figures. The most up-to-date assessment by the American Ornithologists' Union notes that The Birds of America contains "457 species plus one hybrid and five so-called birds of mystery that may be hybrids or mutations." (Susanne M. Low. An Index and Guide to Audubon's Birds of America, New York 1988, p. 13).\nThe plates of this University of Edinburgh copy of The Birds of America are numbered I-X, 11-14, XV, 16-50, LI-LIV, 55, LVI-CCCCXXXV (Plate CCLIV is misnumbered CCLVI). The first fifty plates are generally the earliest states and the first ten are engraved by W.H. Lizars alone, before any of the later retouching by Havell. During the engraving of the second part (plates V-X), in 1827, Lizars' colorists went on strike and Audubon moved the production to London where the work was completed by Robert Havell, Jr. over the next 11 years. The change from Arabic to Roman numeration after Plate 50 in the University of Edinburgh copy provides the key to dating the temporary severance and resumption of their subscription. Early issues of Plates 11 to 100 (except for Plate XV) are numbered in Arabic numerals. Later issues are numbered in Roman numerals, in addition to various revisions and corrections made to the legends of some plates. Waldemar Fries published a detailed list of these variants but his work is far from exhaustive. His variants are noted here for the first ten plates by Lizars:\n\nPlate 1. Great American Cock Male--Vulgo (Wild Turkey-) Meleagris Gallopavo. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill" (date obscured by guard).\nPlate 2. Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Coccyzus Carolinensis. Plant Popaw Porceliatriloba. Variant 2, with erasure evident. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1826".\nPlate 3. Prothonotary Warbler. Dacnis Prothonotarius. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman 1826".\nPlate 4. Purple Finch. Fringilla Purpurea. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill" (date obscured).\nPlate 5. Bonaparte Fly Catcher. Muscicapa Bonapartii. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1826".\nPlate 6. Great American Hen & Young. Vulgo, Female Wild Turkey.--Meleagris Gallopavo. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill" (date obscured).\nPlate 7. Purple Grackle. Quiscalus Versicolor. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1827".\nPlate 8. White Throated Sparrow. Fringilla Pensylvanica. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1827".\nPlate 9. Selby's Fly Catcher. Muscicapa Selbii. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1827".\nPlate 10. Brown Lark. Anthus Aquaticus. Variant 1. Watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill 1827".\n\nTwo paper stocks were used throughout production, both bearing the name of the famous eighteenth-century English papermaker, James Whatman. A man called Balston had part of the rights to the old Whatman company and used the watermark "J Whatman"; the Hollingsworth family had rights to the watermark "J Whatman/Turkey Mill." The size of the sheets of paper is known as "double elephant", being almost the size, at 39 1/2 x 29 1/2 inches, of the 40 x 26 1/2-inch drawing paper bearing this unusual name.\n\nThe Ornithological Biography, the accompanying text to The Birds of America, was published separately in collaboration with William MacGillivray in Edinburgh between 1831 and 1839. The reason for separating its publication from that of the plates was that the British Copyright Act of 1709 would have required Audubon to deposit nine sets of the plates in each of the United Kingdom deposit libraries.\n\nCONDITION [to be finally revised]\nPlates 426 and 431 have single vertical hard creases, minor restoration and are on new guards; fewer than six other plates have soft creases. Occasional foxing or offsetting or show-through affects 20 plates. Plate 121 has a minute inkstain. Plate 44 has a 3-inch repaired tear to blank margin; very occasional nicks to edges of other sheets are repaired. Plate 47 has a thin spot in blank margin. Plate 1 is on an old guard. Very minor and occasional dust-soiling. Small circular ink library stamp on each title-page and on verso of Plate 17.\n\nEDITION SIZE AND SCARCITY\nThe final list of subscribers to The Birds of America totals 161. Allowing that an unknown number of extra sets was produced, it is unlikely that the edition size was greater than 200 copies. An updating of Waldemar Fries's 1973 census shows us that there are 122 copies extant, although many of these lack numbers of plates and/or are damaged. Since 1973, 16 copies of the book have been sold. Of these 16, 12 have been sold on a sheet-by-sheet basis and are dispersed. It is a certainty that the University of Edinburgh's subscription set is in finer overall condition than 15 of the previous copies to have been offered for sale and is comparable to the H. Bradley Martin copy (sold, Sotheby's New York, 6 June 1989, $3,960,000).\n\nREFERENCES\nW.H. Fries, The Double Elephant Folio (Chicago 1973), pp. 341 et passim; Nissen IVB 49; Fine Bird Books p. 57; Anker 17; Wood p. 207; Zimmer pp. 18-19. (9)
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AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851) The Birds of America; from O...
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Fabyan, Robert

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Fontane, T.

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2,000,000 EUR