Gould, John (1804 - 1881): Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus Saliceti)

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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: 36 x 54 • Style: FOLIO Original Vintage • Print on Verso: Blank on verso • Condition: Very Good, some spotting • Edition Type: 1st Edition - Limited • Paper Type: Woven • Framed: Print only

This beautiful hand-colored lithograph, Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus Saliceti) 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.

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.
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.

Condition is Very Good, with water spot most likely from artist's brush in upper right of image.