The Havell edition of John Audubon's legendary The Birds of America completely restored- as a blog here on tumblr, and an eBook for Kindle Fire and Nook Book.

26th April 2012

Photo with 7 notes

Plate 435 of John Audubon’s The Birds of America, featuring the Columbian Water Ouzel and the Arctic Water Ouzel, now, I believe, both considered to be no different than the American Dippers.
It’s the last page of The Birds of America, and you can practically hear Audubon and Havell breathing a sigh of relief, as well as the subscribers of the book who had to wait nearly 3 years from getting the first page to the last, and years more waiting for the first page if they were an early subscriber. The pages were delivered unbound, and the subscribers had to protect the individual sheets and have them bound into a book themselves, something that happened in all but one known case. In an era when so many copies have been cut apart to sell the individual pages as wall art that may seem hard to understand, but those individual pages were always intended to be bound into a book and sold that way. It also provided a way to protect the pages from dirt and light (which will fade watercolor, so if you’re lucky enough to get an original Audubon print make sure you cover it with UV glass and keep it in dim light). And, for the 19th century buyers, it was a lot easier to store one book, even an enormous one, than 435 framed prints, and that may be why so many have survived in such relatively good condition, something good for all Audubon fans. 

Plate 435 of John Audubon’s The Birds of America, featuring the Columbian Water Ouzel and the Arctic Water Ouzel, now, I believe, both considered to be no different than the American Dippers.

It’s the last page of The Birds of America, and you can practically hear Audubon and Havell breathing a sigh of relief, as well as the subscribers of the book who had to wait nearly 3 years from getting the first page to the last, and years more waiting for the first page if they were an early subscriber. The pages were delivered unbound, and the subscribers had to protect the individual sheets and have them bound into a book themselves, something that happened in all but one known case. In an era when so many copies have been cut apart to sell the individual pages as wall art that may seem hard to understand, but those individual pages were always intended to be bound into a book and sold that way. It also provided a way to protect the pages from dirt and light (which will fade watercolor, so if you’re lucky enough to get an original Audubon print make sure you cover it with UV glass and keep it in dim light). And, for the 19th century buyers, it was a lot easier to store one book, even an enormous one, than 435 framed prints, and that may be why so many have survived in such relatively good condition, something good for all Audubon fans. 

Tagged: Columbian Water OuzelArctic Water OuzelAmerican DipperAudubonPlate 435

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