AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. Autograph Manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, folio, n.p., n.d. [but watermarked 1829] being the description of the Crested Titmouse, plate 39 from Birds of America,
Lot 66
AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851.
Autograph Manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, folio, n.p., n.d. [but watermarked 1829] being the description of the Crested Titmouse, plate 39 from Birds of America,
US$ 10,000 - 15,000
£ 7,800 - 12,000

Fine Books and Manuscripts

12 Jun 2018, 13:00 EDT

New York

Lot Details
AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851. Autograph Manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, folio, n.p., n.d. [but watermarked 1829] being the description of the Crested Titmouse, plate 39 from Birds of America,
AUDUBON, JOHN JAMES. 1785-1851.
Autograph Manuscript, 2 pp recto and verso, folio, n.p., n.d. [but watermarked 1829] being the description of the Crested Titmouse, plate 39 from Birds of America, published in Ornithological Biography [1831-1839], paginated 145-146 in blue pencil by another hand, leaf moderately corrected by the author, with 1/4 inch loss to upper right corner of right margin (not affecting text), very mild toning and thumbing overall.

AUTOGRAPH MANUSCRIPT OF AUDUBON'S ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION OF LOUISIANA'S "CRESTED TITMOUSE." At the time of the production of Audubon's magnum opus, The Birds of America, British copyright law demanded that copies of all works featuring text be deposited in the Crown libraries. Rather than produce extra copies of the expensive illustrated work that would disappear without recompense into the royal libraries, Audubon and his publisher decided to separate the text and images into separate books. The letterpress part of the project was published as Ornithological Biography... in five volumes beginning in 1831.
The present example is pp 145-146 from Audubon's original manuscript, the descriptive text for plate 39, and bears subtle differences from the final published version which appeared in Volume I. In part: "Although this smart little bird breeds in the State of Louisiana and there adjacent it is not found in so great numbers as in the middle district and further to the northward. It generally prefers the depth of the forest during summer after which it approaches the plantations and even resorts to the granaries for corn. / Its flight is short as the bird is seldom seen on the wing long enough to cross a moderate field. It is performed by repeated flaps and jerks of the body & tail at the same time and occasions a rustling noise through the air as it passes from one tree to another ... They are of rather vicious disposition & will at times attack smaller birds & destroy them by thumping their heads with the bill until the skull is broken."
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