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Smew or White Nun

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Smew or White Nun

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

Engraver: Robert Havell Jr. (American, 1793 - 1878)

Date: 1836
Medium: etching and aquatint on paper, hand-colored
Dimensions:
Double elephant: 38 1/4 x 25 1/2 inches (97.2 x 64.8 cm)
Classification: Pages
Inscribed: No. 70. (upper left); PLATE CCCXLVII (upper right); Drawn from Nature by J.J. Audubon, F.R.S. F.L.S. (lower left); Smew or White Nun,/ MERGUS ALBELLUS, L./ Male 1. Female 2. (lower center); Engraved, Printed, and Coloured, by R. Havell, 1836. (lower right)
Credit Line: Partial Bequest of H.J. Lutcher Stark, 1965 and Partial Gift of Nelda C. Stark, 1973
Object number: 11.1.2.D.88_Smew or White Nun
DescriptionThis page is bound in Volume IV (11.1.2.D).
Label Text:The Stark Museum of Art’s set of "The Birds of America" is unique. This set belonged to the artist. This volume is open to the Smew, a species of duck found in northern Europe and Asia. John James Audubon wrote that it was “extremely rare” in the United States. He
described it as a “transient or accidental visitor.” He probably felt compelled to include the Smew in his book to refute Alexander Wilson. Wilson had written that the Smew was frequently observed in New England and New York.

Provenance: Artist; by inheritance to his son John Woodhouse Audubon [1812-1862]; purchased December 7, 1861 by John Taylor Johnston [1]; by inheritance to his son John Herbert Johnston as of 1893; by inheritance to his grandson William W. Appleton [1915-2014]; as of November 26, 1939 (Harry A. Levinson, The Chaucer Head Book Shop, New York) [2]; purchased 1939 by Cornelius D. Ehret, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; purchased April 29, 1954 through (Nada Kramar, Washington, D.C.) by H.J. Lutcher Stark [1887-1965]; ½ interest bequeathed September 2, 1965 to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation [3]; remaining ½ interest gifted February 1, 1973 to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation by Nelda C. Stark [1909-1999]; accessioned to the Stark Museum of Art | 1. See letter and bill of sale from John Woodhouse Audubon to John Taylor Johnston (object number 11.2.105.A-C) | 2. The New York Times Book Review, "Notes on Rare Books," November 26, 1939. | 3. Owned jointly by H.J. Lutcher Stark and Nelda C. Stark until his death at which point his ½ interest was bequeathed to the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.
Terms
  • Barataria Bay