This remarkable ornithology lithograph with hand-finished color is from the esteemed John Goulds The Birds of Europe. The work was published in London between 1832 and 1837.
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.
The majority of this work is believed to have been drawn and lithographed by Elizabeth Gould. It was also the first time Gould employed the masterful Edward Lear. “There is no doubt that Edward Lear was the first person to understand the art of lithography, and to use it to its fullest potential. It was a legacy that granted the fabled works of Gould their success, and took them into the forefront of nineteenth-century illustration” (Tree). Of Lear’s lithographs: “they are certainly among the most remarkable bird drawings ever made, it is evident that Lear endowed them with some measure of his own whimsy and intelligence, his energetic curiosity, his self-conscious clumsiness and his unselfconscious charm.” (Hyman)