Friday, May 30, 2014

talking Audubon

Yellow-billed cuckoo and pawpaws, Number 1 Plate 2. 1827.

Special thanks to Dusty Walker and the Friends of the King Family Library in Sevierville. Last night, I was invited to speak about one of my favorite topics: John James Audubon and the creation of his "Birds of America" in the early 1800s. It was a monumental undertaking in art, printmaking and publishing, a good subject for a friendly library group.

Carolina parakeet. No. 6. Pl. 26. 1829
Audubon's original Double Elephant Folio with 435 hand-colored prints took 12 years to produce in England. It showcases not only the work of Audubon and his assistant artists but also the remarkable engraving skills of Robert Havell Jr. and his team of colorists. Yes, it took a village. 

Today, only 120 complete sets still survive, either as loose sheets or in leather-bound volumes.

To view the first volume in an eight volume collection belonging to the University of Pittsburgh (some collections are bound into four volumes), go to the University of Michigan on-line library: Audubon: Volume 1.  

Outgoing president Kate Carlyle addresses the group

Incoming officers: Chuck Flammang, Dusty Walker, moi, Sharon Duff, 
Cathy Dronen and Diane Johnson.

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