Pl. 136 Meadowlark
ARTIST John James Audubon
FROM The Birds of America
CONDITION Hand colored aquatint engraving.
First edition,engraved by Havell.
Double elephant folio sheet: 25 3/8 x 36 1/2.
DATE London 1827-38
Audubon's Birds of America is the single most important ornithological work ever produced. At no time in the history of American art has there been a work comparable in scope or beauty. Audubon's ambitious goal was to travel through out the United States recording, in life size every bird native to the country. This was the first life-size depiction of the birds of North America showing them in natural poses amongst the flora of their habits, indeed hinting of the study of ecology. The work remains over a century and a half later the paradigm work of American ornithology. The complete set included 435 magnificent hand-colored engravings. Each image was painstakingly engraved into the massive copper plates. After hand inking the plate and pulling the individual strike, each image was then colored by hand with water color to replicate Audubon's original drawing. The paper was the finest available in the period and bears the "Whatman Turkey-Mill" watermark.