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This remarkable folio lithograph with hand-finished color is from the esteemed John Goulds Birds of Great Britain published between 1862 and 1873. This is an earlier printing of the work before the plate for the Snowy Owl was cracked.
Birds of Great Britain allowed Gould to cultivate his aesthetic style. He created very appealing compositions often featuring nests and young with the adult species and intricate backgrounds. Gould realized that the artistry would make this work far more intriguing than its predecessor Birds of Europe and thus introduced 750 copies. Birds of Great Britain remains vastly popular today. John Gould created nearly 3000 hand-colored plates of animals in his extensive career. Gould gained much of his knowledge by observation and experience and contributed greatly to scientific knowledge at the time. Gould is believed to have done the original sketches for all of the plates. He utilized many talented artists to help create the finished lithograph including his wife Elizabeth Coxen Gould, Edward Lear, Joseph Wolf, William Hart, and H. C. Richter. Even at the time of publication, Goulds plates were very expensive and only sold to a small set of subscribers. Due to the limited subscriber list, the plates remain rare and of high value for collectors today.