Date of Printing: 1866 • Medium: Lithograph (hand colored) • Subject Category: Natural History - Birds • Signed: Plate signed, Lower Left • Period Created: Romantic (1800 - 1899) • Plate Size HxWxD cm: N/A • Leaf Paper Size HxW cm: 59 x 45 • Style: FOLIO Original Vintage • Print on Verso: Blank on verso • Condition: Excellent • Edition Type: 1st Edition - Limited • Paper Type: Woven • Framed: Print only
Antique Large Folio Lithograph Published 1866-69 by the Author, New York for "The New and Heretofore Unfigured Species of the Birds of North America" by Daniel Giraud Elliot. Illustrated by Daniel Eliott, Joseph Wolf and Edwin Sheppard. Fine hand colour as issued. In Excellent condition, with only the very faintest of toning at far edges, almost unperceptible. Elliot's book is a spectacular work with very fine generally life-size hand-coloured lithographs of species not previously pictured by either Alexander Wilson or John James Audubon, and particularly on birds of the American West.
Elliot describes his aims in the preface: "Since the time of Wilson and Audubon, no work has been published upon American Ornithology, containing life-size representations of the various species that have been discovered since the labors of those great men were finished. The valuable productions of Cassin, as well as the revised edition of the ninth volume of the Pacific Rail Road Report, the joint labor of Messrs. Baird, Cassin and Lawrence had indeed appeared ... but no attempt had been made to continue the works of the first great American naturalists in a similar manner ... It was, therefore, with the desire to contribute ... towards the elucidation of the comparatively little known species of the Birds of North America, their habits and economy, as well as to render their forms familiar so far as life-size representation of them might serve to do, that I undertook the present publication."
Over half of the plates in the work are devoted to birds of the American west, including California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and the Rocky Mountains, with many of the remaining depicting birds of the Alaskan and Arctic regions. The specimens pictured by Elliot were derived from a number of sources, but included birds brought back from government-sponsored overland expeditions to the West, as well as from private sources such as John Xantus de Vesey.
The plates for Elliot's work were executed by Bowen of Philadelphia, the same lithographer as in Cassin's continuation of Audubon. The project, however, would prove the last for the noted firm, as it closed down shortly after the present work was completed. The plates are taken from originals by Elliot and one of the greatest ornithological artists working in the second half of the nineteenth century: Joseph Wolf. In particular, Wolf's image of the Iceland Falcon (the second plate in volume II) must rank as one of the great bird portraits of all time, and is a worthy successor to the images in Audubon's own masterpiece.