Birds of America.
The Birds of America is a book by naturalist and painter John James Audubon, containing illustrations of a wide variety of birds of the United States.
It was first published as a series in sections between 1827 and 1838, in Edinburgh and London. Not all of the specimens illustrated in the work were collected by Audubon himself, some were sent to him by John Kirk Townsend who had collected them on Nathaniel Jarvis Wyeth's 1834 expedition with Thomas Nuttall.
The work consists of 435 hand-coloured, life-size prints, made from engraved plates, measuring around 39 by 26 inches. It includes images of six now-extinct birds: Carolina parakeet, passenger pigeon, Labrador duck, great auk, Eskimo curlew, and pinnated grouse.
Art historians describe Audubon's work as being of high quality and printed with artistic finesse. The plant life backgrounds of some 50 of the bird studies were painted by Audubon's assistant Joseph Mason but he is not credited for his work in the book.
He shot many specimen birds as well as transporting and maintaining supplies for Audubon. Audubon also authored the companion book Ornithological Biographies. About 1820, around the age of 35, Audubon declared his intention to paint every bird in North America. In his bird art, he mainly forsook oil paint, the medium of serious artists of the day, in favour of watercolours and pastel crayons. As early as 1807, he dev