Audubon (John James)
Lot 298
Audubon (John James)
Sold for £ 74,090 (US$ 104,114) inc. premium

Lot Details
Audubon (John James)
Audubon (John James)
[The Birds of America], 42 HAND-COLOURED ETCHED PLATES, WITH AQUATINT ENGRAVING, AFTER AUDUBON FROM THE ORIGINAL DOUBLE-ELEPHANT FOLIO EDITION, by William Lizars of Edinburgh, Robert Havell Sr. and Robert Havell Jr. of London, small tears to blank margins of 7 plates, slight damage to surface of image area of plate 14 and to platemark at lower right corner of plate 23, light surface soiling to plate 66, light vertical crease to plate 75, contemporary red half morocco gilt, double elephant folio (644 by 535mm.), [Edinburgh & London, published by the Author, 1827-1829]


  • A fine collection of plates from Audobon’s acknowledged masterpiece, all with fine early colouring. The plates are from the first fifteen numbers of volume I (the earliest is plate III, the last plate 75). Six plates are engraved by Lizars of Edinburgh, who began production of the work in late 1826; the others were executed by the London engravers, Robert Havell & Son, in 1827-1829. Of the Lizars plates, three (VIII, IX and X) were printed and coloured by Robert Havell, senior.

    It is most probable that the collection was formed by an early subscriber. A manuscript correction on plate 50 (‘Error The Black and Yellow Warbler (Sylvia Maculosa’) suggests that the owner was using the album in conjunction with Audubon’s Ornithological Biography, 1831, in which the author points out his own mistake in nomenclature (volume I, pp.260-261). All the plates present have been reduced in size by the binder, but there has been no loss of image.

    The subjects are as follows: Prothonotary Warbler (Plate No. III, Protonotaria citrea); Purple Finch (Plate No. IV, Carpodacus citrea); Bonaparte’s Flycatcher (Plate No. V, Canada Warbler, Wilsonia Canadensis); White Throated Sparrow (Plate No. Viii, White-Throated Sparrow, Zonotrichia albicollis); Selby’s Flycatcher (Plate No. IX, Hooded Warbler, Wilsonia Citrina); Brown Titlark (Plate No. X, Water Pipit, Anthus spinoletta); Snow Bird (Plate No. 13, Northern Junco, Junco hyemalis); Prairie Warbler (Plate No. 14, Dendroica discolor); Blue Yellow-Backed Warbler (Plate No. XV, Northern Parula Warbler, Parula Americana; Bewick’s Wren (Plate No. 18, Thryomanes bewickii); Louisiana Water Thrush (Plate No. 19, Louisiana Water Thrush, Seiurus motacilla); Blue-Winged Yellow Warbler (Plate No. 20, Blue-winged Warbler Vermivora Pinus); Yellow-Breasted Warbler (Plate No. 23, Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas); Roscoe’s Yellow-Throat (Plate No. 24, Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis Trichas); Song Sparrow (Plate No. 25 Melospiza melodia); Solitary Flycatcher or Vireo (Plate No. 28, Solitary Vireo, Vireo Solitarius); Towhe Bunting (Plate No. 29, Rufous-sided Towhee, Piplio erythrophthalmus); Vigor’s Warbler (Plate No. 30, Pine Warbler, Dendroica pinus); American Goldfinch (Plate No. 33, Carduelis tristis); Worm Eating Warbler (Plate No. 34, Helmitheros Vermivorus); Children’s Warbler (Plate No. 35, Yellow Warbler, Dendroica Petechia; Cedar Bird (Plate No. 43, Cedar Waxwing, Bombycilla cedrorum); Summer Red Bird (Plate No. 44 Summer Tanager, Piranga rubra &i); Trail’s Flycatcher (Plate No. 45, Willow Flycatcher, Empidonax traillii); Azure Warbler (Plate No. 48, Cerulean Warbler, Dendroica cerulea); Blue-Green Warbler (Plate No. 49, Cerulean Warbler, Dendroica Cerulea); Black & Yellow Warbler (Plate No. 50, Magnolia Warbler, Denroica magnolia); Painted Finch (Plate No. 53, Painted Bunting, Passerina ciris); Rice Bird (Plate No. 54, Bobolink, Dolychonyx oryzivorus); Cuvier’s Regulus (Plate No. 55, Cuvier’s Kinglet, Regulus cuvieri); Hermit Thrus (Plate No. 58, &Icatharus guttatus); Chestnut-Sided Warbler (Plate No. 59, Dendroica pensylvanica); Carbonated Warbler (Plate No. 60, Carbonated Warbler, Dendroica carbonata); White-Eyed Flycatcher or Vireo (Plate No. 63, Vireo griseus); Swamp Sparrow (Plate No. 64, Melospiza Georgiana); Rathbone Warbler (Plate No. 65, Yellow Warbler Dendroica petedhia); Republican or Cliff Swallow (Plate No. 68, Petrochelidon pyrrhonata); Bay Breasted Warbler (Plate No. 69, Dendroica castanea); Henslow’s Bunting (Plate No. 70, Henslow’s Sparrow, Ammodramus henslowii); Wood Thrush (Plate No. 73, Hyclocichla mustelina); Indigo Bird (Plate No. 74, Indigo Bunting Passerina Cyanta); Le Petit Caporal (Plate No. 75, Merlin Falco columbarius).

    The plates are numbered: III-V (‘Engraved by W.H. Lizars’); VIII-X (‘Engraved by W.H. Lizars / Printed & Coloured by R. Havell, Senr.’); 13, 14, XV, 18, 19, 20 (‘Engraved by R. Havell, Jnr, / Printed & Coloured by R. Havell, Senr.’); 23-25, 28-30, 33-35 (‘Engraved, Printed & Coloured by R. Havell & Son’); 43-45, 48-50, 53-55, 58-60, 63-65, 68-70, 73-75 (‘Engraved by R. Havell, Jnr. Printed & Coloured by R. Havell Snr’).

    References: Anker 17; Fine Bird Books, p.73; W.H. Fries, The Double Elephant Folio (Chicago, 1973), pp.246 et passim; Nissen IVB 49; Wood, p.209; Zimmer, pp.18-20.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that although the plates are from the double elephant folio edition, their measurements are 644 by 535mm. as stated in the catalogue
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