John Gould, Pl. 78 Blue-tailed Mango, Family of Hummingbirds, 1849–87, hand-colored lithograph
Enjoy special pricing on Pl. 78, Blue-tailed Mango, Lampornis viridis, an exquisite hand-colored lithograph from John Gould’s Family of Hummingbirds.
Two males and a female are depicted about life size with Pitcairnia undulatifolia, (Hooker).
Drawn and lithographed by J. Gould and H. C. Richter, Hullmandel & Walton imp. Beautifully hand colored, in perfect condition, 21.5 x 14.75 inches.
$2,750 this week only (list price $3,700). Offer expires 3-12-18.
Considered Gould’s masterpiece in both breadth and beauty, Monograph of the Trochilidae or Family of Humming Birds comprises 418 plates. It was originally published in London in five volumes in 25 parts (1849–61), plus volume six, a five-part supplement, (1880–87). Depicted and lithographed on stone by artists John Gould, Henry Constantin Richter and William Mathew Hart, each plate exquisitely portrays these delicate, evocatively colored birds with the flowers indigenous to their area. Strong botanical elements add a dimension not found in other bird folios. A Family of Humming Birds also displays a tour de force of the hand-colored lithograph as a medium. Gold leaf, transparent oil colors, watercolors, lacquers and gum Arabic are combined to capture the iridescent quality of these most colorful of birds.
To create Family of Humming Birds, Gould spent over two decades studying hummingbird specimens. He learned information about their habits and range from leading naturalists in Europe, previous works on the subject, and from the naturalists working in the field who procured hummingbirds for this folio. Gould used taxidermied specimens for the preparatory drawings of the birds. Some of the botanicals were taken from living plants grown in Great Britain, and others were copied from illustrations published in Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Gould did not see a living hummingbird until he traveled to North America in 1857.
John Gould (1804–1881) was a prolific publisher of ornithological subjects. In 19th-century Europe, his name was as well known as Audubon’s was in North America. Unlike Audubon, whose life’s work focused on one region, Gould traveled widely and employed other artists to help create his lavish, hand-colored lithographic folios. John Gould’s love of natural history was fostered in the gardens of King George III where his father was chief gardener at Windsor Castle. Although trained as a gardener, Gould’s interests quickly evolved, and at the age of 20, he was appointed taxidermist to the Zoological Society of London. After three years, he progressed to the position of curator of birds and chief taxidermist. In 1830, newly married, Gould and his artist wife, Elizabeth Gould (née Coxen, 1804 – 1841), began their publishing career. During a career spanning over half a century, John Gould oversaw the publication of more than a dozen folios on birds of the world.
For further information or to purchase, please call the gallery at 312-642-5300.