Gould, John (1804 - 1881): Water Ouzel (Cinclus Melanogaster)

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Date of Printing: 1862 • 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: 38 x 55.5 • Style: FOLIO Original Vintage • Print on Verso: Blank on verso • Condition: Excellent • Edition Type: 1st Edition - Limited • Paper Type: Woven • Framed: Print only

This beautiful hand-colored lithograph, Cinclus Melanogaster (Black-bellied Water Ouzel) is from John Gould's BIRDS OF GREAT BRITAIN (1862-1873). Published by Wm. Hart, H. C. Richter and Joseph Wolf from drawings by Hart, Richter, Gould and Wolf, it is universally recognized as being the finest and most comprenhensive record of native birds at that time. This mammoth work featured illustrations of 367 different British birds, many of whom are also indigenous to North America.
This Water Ouzel inhabits rocky streams and the banks of rapid rivers chiefly in mountainous areas. As shown in this lithograph, this bird feeds on aquatic insects.

The making of these prints was technically and artistically demanding. Gould's original sketches were transferred to stone with special pencils or chalk. They were printed by hand from the stones, with each hand-colored, and issued in small sets to subscribers only. As the prints were very expensive for their time, only a few hudnred of the wealthiest people and institutions could afford them, accounting for their rarity today.

John Gould (1804-1881) was often called "The Bird Man" and his lifetime work comprised more than 40 volumes with more than 3,000 hand-colored plates. A distinguished British naturalist, he learned taxidermy at Windsor Castle where his father was foreman of gardeners. In 1887 he became taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London. Shortly after he married Elizabeth Coxen in 1887, Gould acquired a collection of bird skins from the Himalayas. After he stuffed and mounted them, he became aware of their artistic possibilities and his career as a bird illustrator began. Elizabeth helped draw, lithograph and color many of the first plates.
The only artist to rival Audubon, Gould's output was much more prolific. He was often called the "British Audubon". His prints are masterful in design and composition and are known for detail, accuracy and beautiful hand coloring.

Condition is Excellent with normal age toning and a few minor spots. The hand coloring is still very beautiful. Evidence of the original book binding is on the bottom edge and the overall size is approximately 15” x 22”. As a bonus, the original text is included.