From the “Birds of Australia”.
JOHN GOULD 1804 – 1881
John Gould is widely considered the grearest and most ambitious of all Victorian ornithologists, combining both artistic skill and beauty and anatomical accuracy. Following in the great tradition of Natural History illustrators, such as Barraband and Audubon, Gould enlisted the services of some of the most notable ornithological artists, including Edward Lea, Joseph Wolf and his own wife Elizabeth to compile the most outstanding and comprehensive bodies of work in this field. Comprising of eighteen major works he illustrated the birds of the world, from Asia, New Guinea, Europe, and Great Britain to the Families of Toucans, Trogons and Hummingbirds.
Perhaps the most important and valuable of his works is the “Birds of Australia”, published in London 1840 – 48, with a supplement issued 1851 – 69, from which this work is taken. A contemporary viewer said of this work “Great as is the excellence of Mr Gould’s former publications, there can be no doubt that the present work exceeds them all, both in an artistic and scientific point of view… Whether the dignified repose of the Eagle, the pert Malurus, the restless Parrakeet, or the lean and anxoius Wader, he is equally successful in his efforts”. Indeed still today the work is noted as his most accomplished, inparticular the plates depicting parrots and cockatoos have propelled this work into becoming the most valuable of Gould’s publictions. Aside from its value it is the most complete and comprehensive ornithological work on Australia ever completed, an incredible feat considering the continent had only been discovered seventy years previously. It was a direct result of the labours of Gould and his assistants, that well over three hundred new species were added to the existing list of birds know to inhabit Australia.
72-59833. 72. John Gould & H.C. Richter, Geopelia tranquilla [Peaceful Ground Dove]
John Gould & H.C. Richter, Geopelia tranquilla [Peaceful Ground Dove], Hullmandel, 1840-8. Original hand-coloured lithograph, from Gould’s Birds of Australia..
Original hand-coloured lithograph.
Dimensions: 555 by 385mm. (21.50 by 15.25 inches).