AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.

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Lot 99
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862.
Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.

Sold for US$ 137,000 inc. premium
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862.
Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
Folio (435 x 326 mm). [4], 48 pp. With 4 hand-colored lithographed plates, bound before title-page, drawn from nature by J.W. Audubon, on stone by E. Gildemeister, printed by Nagel & Weingaertner. Original muslin-backed printed boards with original price ($3.00 colored) noted in manuscript. Custom full morocco folding box. Text pages with moderate foxing and dampstain, title and preface leaf with a short marginal tear, some very pale spots visible in some plate margins, text block nearly detached from binding, endleaves browned, stains to boards and an abraded area on lower cover, overall still an exceptional copy, unsophisticated and with clean, brilliant plates.

FIRST EDITION, HAND-COLORED ISSUE. John Woodhouse Audubon, the son and important collaborator of John James Audubon, was also a forty-niner. "In 1849 J.W. Audubon joined the gold rush, traveling to California across Texas and northern Mexico. On his return, he planned an ambitious plate book of 40 plates in 10 parts, illustrating scenes from his trip and in the mines. Despite the tremendous national interest in the gold rush, he was unable to generate enough subscriptions to justify the publication..." (Reese). This first part was the only one to appear. Audubon account ledgers for 1852 confirm the sale of only two copies (Kurutz). One of the great "might-have-beens" in Western Americana, this volume is of extraordinary rarity and beauty. The four color plates are: "Fourth of July Camp," "Night Watch," "Cañon of Jesus Maria," and "Jesus Maria." The narrative covers the first part of Audubon's journey, from New York to the village of Jesus Maria in Chihuahua, not far from the Sonora border. The party spent July 4th resting at Paso Chapadaro at the headwaters of the Conchos river, northwest of Parral. Two of the plates depict Jesus Maria, "the extraordinary little town ... situated at the junction of two little torrents of clear beautiful water" (Audubon). Bay Three Handfuls of Western Books p 349; Cowan I pp 8-9, Cowan II p 23; Eberstadt 115:1044; Graff 111; Howes A390 ("dd," "superlatively rare, almost unobtainable"), Kurutz 21; Reese Color Plate 41; Streeter 3166-3167 (2 tinted plates only); Wagner-Camp 208.

Footnotes

  • "I was so enchanted with the wild beauty of this country, that I could have stayed for weeks and months to enjoy it; it was all new, the hills and mountains were differently shaped from any I had ever seen, the plants were new, the trees and rocks all strange, and when we forded the beautiful creeks we had to cross, as our horses stopped to drink, curious fish came to look at their noses rippling the surface of the slowly-gliding pools in each little river."
Contacts
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
AUDUBON, JOHN WOODHOUSE. 1812-1862. Illustrated Notes of an Expedition Through Mexico and California. New York: J.W. Audubon, 1852.
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