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Description:This large original hand coloured antique lithograph of the male & female Pine Grosbeak or Pinicola Enucleator, found from Siberia to the United States, was published in the 1862-73 edition of John Goulds The Birds of Great Britain. Lithography by J Gould, HC Richter & Walter.The University of Glasgow, which owns a copy of Birds of Great Britain, describes John Gould as the greatest figure in bird illustration after Audubon. Gould was not directly responsible for the illustrations himself, although he supervised their production closely. Auctioneers Sotherans describe the work as Goulds pride and joy.Gould had already published some of the illustrations in Birds of Europe, but Birds of Great Britain represents a development of an aesthetic style in which illustrations of nests and young are added on a large scale.Sotherans Co. reports that Gould published the book himself, producing 750 copies, which remain sought after both as complete volumes, and as individual plates, currently varying in price from £450 – £850. The University of Glasgow records that the volumes were issued in London in 25 parts, to make the complete set, between 1863 and 1873, and each set contained 367 coloured lithographs.Gould undertook an ornithological tour of Scandinavia in 1856, in preparation for the work, taking with him the artist Henry Wolf who drew 57 of the plates from Goulds preparatory sketches. According to The University of Glasgow Goulds skill was in rapidly producing rough sketches from nature (a majority of the sketches were drawn from newly killed specimens) capturing the distinctiveness of each species. Gould then oversaw the process whereby his artists worked his sketches up into the finished drawings, which were made into coloured lithographs by engraver William Hart.There were problems: the stone engraving of the snowy owl in volume I was dropped and broken at an early stage in the printing. Later issues of this plate show evidence of this damage and consequently the early issue – printed before the accident – are considered more desirable.The lithographs were hand coloured. In the introduction for the work, Gould states every sky with its varied tints and every feather of each bird were coloured by hand; and when it is considered that nearly two hundred and eighty thousand illustrations in the present work have been so treated, it will most likely cause some astonishment to those who give the subject a thought.The work has gathered critical acclaim: according to Mullens and Swann, Birds of Great Britain is the most sumptuous and costly of British bird books, whilst Wood describes it as a magnificent work. Isabella Tree writes that it was seen – perhaps partly because its subject was British, as the culmination of [his] ... genius.
General Definitions:Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stablePaper color : - off whiteAge of map color: - OriginalColors used: - Yellow, green, blue, pinkGeneral color appearance: - AuthenticPaper size: - 21 1/2in x 14in (545mm x 360mm)Plate size: - 21 1/2in x 14in (545mm x 360mm)Margins: - Min 1/2in (12mm)
Imperfections:Margins: - Light matt line to borderPlate area: - NoneVerso: - None
Background:One of the great bird artists of all time, John Gould created over 3,000 plates of birds in over 40 volumes.Around 1830, while working as taxidermist for the Zoological Society of London, he received a shipment of exotic bird skins from the Himalayas. Soon after, he published A Century of Birds from the Himalaya Mountains.The success of this work, along with the Birds of Europe (1832-37) and a Monograph of the Ramphastidae [Toucans] allowed him to travel to Australia and New Guinea. Among Gould's better known works are the Birds of Australia (1849-69), the Birds of Asia (1850-83), and Birds of Great Britain (1862-73).Though Gould himself sketched most of his plates, other artists such as his wife Elizabeth, Edward Lear, Joseph Wolf, William Hart and Henry C. Richter finished them. Gould's plates are highly esteemed for their composition, accurate detail, and coloring. (Ref: Methuen)
Please note all items auctioned are genuine, we do not sell reproductions. A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) can be issued on request.