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The Birds of America

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The Birds of America

Artist: John James Audubon (American, 1785 - 1851)

Lithographer: John T. Bowen (1801 - 1856)

Date: 1840
Medium: lithograph on paper, hand-colored with printed text; bound in brown morocco, gilt paneled boards with modern morocco slip cases
Dimensions:
Octavo: 10 x 6 1/2 inches (25.4 x 16.5 cm)
Classification: Information Artifacts
Inscribed: j. B(ill.) Davis/from Father/1869 (page 11, in pencil)
Credit Line: Purchase of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, 1992
Object number: 11.1.18.A
Accession Number: 1992.3.1.A
DescriptionThere are 500 plates contained in the 7 volumes. Volume includes plates 1 through 70.
Label Text:In the double elephant folio Audubon had named this bird the Bird of Washington. He believed he had discovered a new species of eagle and named it in honor of George Washington. Audubon explained the name, “He was brave, so is the eagle; like it, too, he is the terror of his foes; and his fame, extending from pole to pole, resembles the majestic soarings of the mightiest of the feathered tribe. If America has reason to be proud of her Washington, so has she to be proud of her Great Eagle.” Today it is believed Audubon did not discover a new species, but portrayed an immature bald eagle. Although wrong about the species, Audubon created an iconic image of the eagle.
Provenance: Purchased April 29, 1992 through (Christie's, New York, New York) by the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation[1]; accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art | 1. J.J. Audubon, The Birds of America & Other Important Books on April 24, 1992, sale 7482, lot 3
Exhibitions:
  • Drawn to Life: Audubon's Legacy