Crystal Bridges’ October Programming
Live Chamber Music, a Visiting Author, Watercolors Masterclass & More
September 19, 2013
dawns and dusks
The Fabulous Louise Nevelson
September 22, 2013
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Birds, Part III: Birds of a Feather… in the Crystal Bridges Library

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American red-headed Woodpecker and American Bluebird. Bigland's History of Birds, Fishes, Reptiles,and Insects

American red-headed Woodpecker and American Bluebird. Bigland’s Natural History of Birds, Fishes, Reptiles,and Insects

I am certainly not well versed in idioms, but I’ve heard some doozies: (“well, if that don’t beat the band,”) since moving to the South. Most of these—shame on me, I Googled—include a whole lot of $#@!s. If I had my druthers I would go ahead and use them in this blog because, many of them are cute as a bug’s ear in spite of the $#@!s. But it was the familiar and family-friendly “birds of a feather” that seemed appropriate for the Library’s third September Bird Blog because I wanted to share a variety of additional nineteenth century ornithology color-plate book examples.

Interest in naturalist illustration grew faster than a knife fight in a phone booth during this period, and a few of these selections are, along with Wilson and Audubon books, scarce as hen’s teeth!

The California Woodpecker. Illustrations of the Birds

The California Woodpecker. Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America. Cassin, 1853-1855

There are so many bird illustration publications that I’ll first list, along with a few images, those works which, along with Wilson and Audubon, made significant contributions to ornithology illustration:

  • A Natural History of Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, and Insects, 1828, by John Bigland. 12 hand-colored engraved plates;
  • Illustrations of the Birds of California, Texas, Oregon, British and Russian America. Intended to Contain Descriptions and Figures of all North American Birds not Given by Former American Authors, and a General Synopsis of North American Ornithology, 1853-56, by John Cassin. Fifty hand-colored lithographs;
  • The New and Heretofore Unfigured  Species of the Birds of North America, 1865, by Daniel Giraud Elliot. life-size hand-colored lithographs of species not illustrated in Alexander Wilson or John James Audubon;
  • A History of North American Birds, 1987, by Spencer F. Baird, et al. 100 chromolithographic plates;
  • Beautiful and Curious Birds of the World, 1880-83, by Charles Barney  Cory. Twenty lithographed plates and only 200 copies, this book is very rare.

 

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