John Gould. “Tadorna Vulpanser.” [Sheldrake] From The Birds of Great Britain.
London: John Gould, 1862-73. Lithograph. Original hand-coloring. With mat burn and time toning. Overall good condition.
John Gould (1804-1881) was one of the most respected and prolific ornithologists of all time. Such is his fame that he is often referred to as the "Bird Man." As a taxidermist, traveler and accomplished artist he created life-like and detailed images of birds from all over the world. Gould published more than forty large folio volume in a number of sets on different subjects. The first set appeared in 1831 and the last in 1888, seven years after his death. In all, Gould's sumptuously illustrated works contained 2,999 different prints, showing birds from every continent. The prints are noted for their particularly realistic and accurate appearance. He was able to achieve this accuracy through years of ornithological study. Along with Gould, several other excellent artists worked on his prints, including H.C. Richter, J. Wolf, William Hart, and Gould's wife Elizabeth. Often Gould gave the artists who worked with him sketches of the birds in their natural habitats, which these artists then finished and lithographed onto the stones, hand-coloring each print once it was run off. For their realism and vibrant hand-coloring, Gould's are some of the most beautiful bird prints ever produced.