antique images
×
 

Prints
(Natural History)

 

Prints
(New Zealand)

(Sports)

 
×
 

Postcards
(Artists / Editors)

 

Postcards
(Publishers)

×
×
 

Books
(ordered by author / editor)

 

Books
(ordered by title)

THE ARTISTS & EDITORS  : about them

The Artists
on this page

 

Eleazar ALBIN  (1680–1742)

Eleazar Albin  is one of the most obscure of the 18th century natural history illustrators. However, it seems he was a German professional painter who settled in England in 1707, where he married and raised a family, changing his name from Weiss to Albin. He illustrated works on insects and spiders, earning his living by making watercolors of the collections of wealthy patrons, including Sir Hans Sloane, whose collection founded the British Museum.

His work on birds was done late in his life & was the first large English work on ornithology, hand–colored by Albin and his daughter Elizabeth & published initially in London from 1731–1738.  Just 86 subscribers  are listed for the first volume, 110 for the second, and 122 for the third volume.

Albin's “Natural History of British Birds”, 1st edition, was published in London between 1731–38.

The French edition, “Histoire Naturelle des Oiseaux”, by Eleazar Albin was published from 1735-50.

In Albin’s notes to the reader he states “As for the paintings, they are all done from the life, with all the exactness I could either with my own hand, or my daughters, whom I have taught to draw and paint after the life.”

 

Reference:

The Great Bird Illustrators, Peyton Skipworth, 1979.

Dictionary of Bird Artists, Christine Jackson, 1999.

  Albin, Bittern Albin, Cassanvar

Charles Decimus BARRAUD  (18??–18??)

From his youth Charles Decimus Barraud had displayed artistic talent, and for the first 26 years of his life in New Zealand he travelled widely in his spare time over a large area of the North and South Islands, sketching in the various provinces, and recording his impressions of the attractions of New Zealand.

Many of these sketches he worked up to a larger scale, and the climax of this activity came in 1875 when he decided to sail to England to take advice on the publication of his work. This was published in 1877 under the title New Zealand, Graphic and Descriptive, his publishers being Samson, Low, Marston, Searle, and Rivington, the lithographer being C.F. Kell, while the descriptive material was edited by W.T.L. Travers.

The book contained 24 full-page colour lithographs of landscapes and numerous other plain lithographs and woodcuts dealing with aspects of native life in New Zealand.

  Barraud print

Samuel BREES  (1810–1865)

Samuel Brees was employed as the New Zealand Company's principal engineer and surveyor from 1841 to 1845 and lived in Wellington. During his years in New Zealand he recorded his observations. His finely executed engravings are now a fascinating insight into the early days of colonisation.

  Brees, Karori Road Brees, Mt Victoria

Gracius J. BRONINOWSKI  (1837–1913)

Gracius Broninowski  was born in Poland in 1837, the son of a landowner and military officer of the Polish nobility. To avoid conscription to the Russian Imperial Army he roamed Europe in poverty, his possessions having been stolen earlier when in Germany. Hearing tales of the Australian goldfields he boarded a windjammer bound for Victoria as a deckhand. Broinowski swam ashore at Portland in Victoria in 1857, aged 20. For seven years Broinowski walked from one rural settlement to another working as a shepherd, stockman and independent farmer.

In 1864, Broinowski married in Melbourne and found work with the print sellers and publishers, Hamel & Ferguson. However, painting was his first love and for the next 10 to 15 years he travelled the length and breadth of the east coast of Australia exhibiting paintings of towns and the countryside he visited, sometimes using the pseudonyms Gracius C. Brown or Gracius J. Browne. Between the years of 1878 and 1881 he was listed as a resident Sydney artist, even though his family resided in Melbourne. He finally moved the family to Sydney in 1882, where he taught painting privately at various boys’ schools.

Broinowski published a book, The Birds and Mammals of Australia, in 1884, followed by The Cockatoos and Nestors of Australia and New Zealand in 1888, but his greatest achievement was The Birds of Australia finalised in 1891 which was commissioned by the Department of Public Instruction in New South Wales. It was published in six volumes from 1887 - 1891 with 303 full page illustrations lithographed in colour with notes on over 700 species. Limited to 1000 copies the edition sold out quickly. As in John Gould's Birds of Australia, some New Zealand birds were also featured.

Broinowski died in 1913 at the age of 76, in Mosman, NSW and was survived by his wife, a daughter and six sons.

  Broinowski spoonbill Broinowski Huia

Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon  (1707–1788)

Leclerc was a French naturalist, mathematician, biologist, cosmologist and author. Buffon’s views influenced the next two generations of naturalists, including Jean–Baptiste Lamarack and Charles Darwin. Darwin himself, in his foreword to the 6th edition of the Origin of Species, credited Aristotle with foreshadowing the concept of natural selection but also stated that “the first author who in modern times has treated it in a scientific spirit was Buffon”.

Buffon is best remembered for his great work Histoire Naturelle, générale et particulière in 36 volumes, (8 additional volumes published after his death by Lacépède). It included everything known about the natural world up until that date.

 

Lesson, Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis  

Sir Walter Lawry BULLER  (1838–1906)

Walter Lawry Buller was born at the Wesleyan mission, Newark, at Pakanae, Hokianga, New Zealand, on 9 October 1838. He was educated at the missionaries’ Wesleyan College in Auckland. After the family moved to Wellington in 1855 he became native interpreter in the Magistrate‘s Court and in 1862, when the network of magistrates in Maori districts was expanded under Governor George Grey’s ‘new institutions’, he was appointed resident magistrate in Manawatu.

From his schooldays Buller had a passion for natural history, especially ornithology, which then meant the collection and describing of specimens. He advanced by his own initiative and by contacts with men such as Dr Thomas Ralph, James Hector and George Grey. In 1858, when only 19, he was admitted as a fellow of the Linnean Society of London. His first important scientific paper was written for the New Zealand Exhibition at Dunedin in 1865. He was originally invited to contribute a mere appendix to an essay by Richard Taylor, but made the most of the opportunity; his Essay on the ornithology of New Zealand entirely eclipsed Taylor’s and established him as an authority on the subject, especially after he sent copies abroad and engaged in a vigorous debate with Otto Finsch of Bremen over the species he had named as new.

By 1871 Buller had assembled the materials for a comprehensive treatise on the ornithology of New Zealand, and negotiated a government grant and leave on half pay to publish it in London. To supplement his income there he was also appointed secretary to Featherston, who had become agent general. There were accusations of patronage, especially when it became known that Buller also intended reading law at the Inner Temple; but although he stretched his leave and eventually had to resign his magistrate’s position, his time in London was very successful. With Finsch’s help he received a doctorate in natural history from the university of Töbingen in 1871. He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1874. His book, A history of the birds of New Zealand, published in 1873, which employed J.G. Keulemans as artist/lithographer, won him wide acclaim and, to the chagrin of more established rivals for honours, the CMG in 1875.

On his return to New Zealand in 1874 Buller practised as a barrister, specialising in Native Land Court business. He made two unsuccessful attempts to enter politics, being defeated in elections for Manawatu in 1876 and Foxton in 1881. His legal practice, however, was so lucrative that in 1886 he retired and returned to London as commissioner for the Colonial and Indian Exhibition; he was promoted KCMG for his services. Nor had he neglected science, although his torrent of papers in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute slowed after 1879 when he gained his 'blue riband of science', a fellowship of the Royal Society of London. The enlarged edition of his History , published in 1888, became a New Zealand classic, especially for J.G. Keulemans' chromolithographic plates, which are still the standard images of New Zealand birds.

Buller held the prevailing view that the native plants, birds and people of New Zealand would inevitably be displaced by the more vigorous European immigrants. The Maori, he thought, 'are dying out and nothing can save them. Our plain duty as good compassionate colonists, is to smooth down their dying pillow.' Similarly, he generally rejected as hopeless T. H. Potts's ideas for the conservation of both native forests and birds. However, in 1891 he backed the governor, Lord Onslow, in his successful plea for statutory protection of birds such as the Huia, and the creation of sanctuaries at Resolution and Little Barrier islands. But despite advocating these moves, Buller remained equivocal about their value and continued to take specimens of the rarer birds for his own and other collections.

The first edition of Buller's Birds of New Zealand was published in 1872-3 in an edition of 500 copies with only 36 hand coloured lithographic plates by J.G. Keulemans. The lithographic stones were then destroyed. The highly valuable first edition plates were hand coloured by Dr. R. Bowdler Sharpe's three daughters, Misses Dora Louise, Daisy Madeliner, and Sylvia Rosamund, with some copied from G.Edwards. Keuleman's background details were also coloured. Sometimes no water colour original exists where Keulemans drew his design directly on the stone and then coloured the first print himself as a guide to the hand colourers of further copies.

The demand for the first edition of Buller's Bird of New Zealand was such that Buller persuaded Keulemans to undertake a second edition which included details of many more species than the first and gives names, synonymies, detailed descriptions and elaborate accounts of the habits and distribution of the birds. Keulemans completely re-drew the plates for the original subjects as well as undertaking the additional plates of the newly discovered species. The second edition was published in 13 parts between July 1887 and December 1888, the first 12 comprising text and 4 plates, the final part text only. 

The supplement, an attempt by Buller to bring the work up to date, appeared in two volumes (the British Museum received their copies in August 1905 and October 1906 respectively). (London: Taylor & Francis for the author, [1887-] 1888. 2 volumes, imperial quarto. (14 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches). 9pp. subscribers list. 48 chromolithographic plates by and after John Gerrard Keulemans (assisted by F. van Iterson), 2 uncoloured lithographic plates by E.Wilson after P.J. Smit, all printed by Judd & Co.

Although 1,000 sets of the 1888 edition were produced, a total of 251 copies were lost in the wrecks of the Matai and the Assaye in 1890 (Galbreath p.172). The Supplements were limited to 500 sets. The plates of the second edition show Keulemans at his best and are superb examples of chromolithography. "The book itself is on a larger scale [than the first edition], being Imperial instead of Royal quarto, and the plates, instead of being handcoloured lithographs, have been produced by the more costly but more exact and satisfactory process of printing in colours ..." (Preface).

 

Reference:

'Buller, Walter Lawry 1838 - 1906',  Galbreath, Ross.
Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, updated 4 April 2003.

  Buller's 2nd Saddleback

Charles CATTON  the younger (1756-1819)

Charles Catton’s Animals drawn from nature (drawings “from nature”) were done in the late eighteenth century and show exotic and domestic animals. The prints were made by aquatint etching, an elaborate process popular in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This is the earliest use of aquatint for a work on natural history (Prideaux p289). The use of aquatint gives these prints a delicate detail and texture that well captures the charm of the original drawings. The prints were originally issued in 1788 in London and then in the early nineteenth century the original plates somehow made it to New Haven where the series was reprinted by H. Howe, a local bookseller and publisher. Both editions are quite rare and the prints are most unusual.

  Catton, dog

William CURTIS  (1746-1799)

The Botanical Magazine or Flower Garden Displayed remains the most important of all the small botanicals in the print world and has also become an authorative taxonomical series.. It was first published in London in 1787 by William Curtis whose objective was to provide a scientifically accurate, coloured, pictorial magazine for those interested in horticulture and the exotic plants which were being collected from around the world.

The publication featured illustrations from some of the leading botanical artists of the day including Sydenham Edwards, William Graves, William Kilburn, James Sowerby, John Curtis, William Jackson Hooker, Walter Hood Fitch, Matilda Smith, Lilian Snelling, and Stella Ross-Craig. The earlier prints were hand-coloured engravings, the later hand-coloured lithographs.

William Curtis published The Botanical Magazine from 1787–1800 (Volumes 1–14). From 1801–1807 (Volumes 15–26), John Sims published Curtis’s Botanical Magazine. The principal artist for both publishers was Sydenham S. Edwards.

Walter Hood Fitch (1817–92) was without question the most important botanical illustrator of his time and for almost forty years he served under Sir W.J.Hooker and Sir Joseph Hooker, directors of the ‘Royal Gardens at Kew’ as the sole illustrator for the Botanical Magazine. Lilian Snelling (1879–1972), for thirty years the principal artist for Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, was one of the last of the botanical artists who worked in the nineteenth century tradition. Until 1948, she redrew her original water colors onto zinc plates for reproduction, then hand-painted a master print for a team of colorists to copy. However, modern technology finally replaced this labor intensive process and from 1948 until her retirement in 1952 her plates were reproduced photographically.

New Zealand plants have featured in the magazine since 1791. The first New Zealand plants illustrated were Kowhai, Sophora tetraptera, seeds of which were collected during Captain Cook’s first voyage, and Poroporo, Solanum laciniatum. A total of some 135 New Zealand indigenous plants appeared in the Botanical Magazine.

 

Reference:

NZ Journal of Botany, Barbara. A Mathews.

  William Curtis, Pohutakawa

Edward DONOVAN  (1768–1837)

Edward Donovan was a wealthy prominent naturalist who had an entree to all the great collections of the time. He drew the subjects for his illustrations from his own museum and the collections of such famous scientists as Sir Joseph Banks and Drury.

Banks collected a number of specimens of the famous New Zealand rarity, the Imperial Sun Shell, while with Captain James Cook in New Zealand. “ ...the ‘pink variety’ which was brought up on the anchor cable of either the Adventure or Discovery and bought by a Sir Ashton Lever from Cook or Cook’s widow. The shell was sold in 1806 to J.J.A. Filliham for 23 guineas and from him it went to the Duke of Bourbon who was then living in England. It was sold again on the latter‘s return to France and later reached the British Museum where it remains today.”

During its time in the Leverian Museum it was painted by Alexandre Chevalier de Barde, a noted French natural history painter and was illustrated yet again by Donovan in The Naturalist’s Repository or Miscellany of Exotic Natural History Exhibiting Rare and Beautiful Specimens of Foreign Birds, Insects, Shells, published in 1823 in London. It comprised five volumes with 180 hand coloured engravings.

 

Reference:

The Southern Ark, Zoological Discovery In NZ, 1986, J.R.H.Andrews.

  Donovan, Sun Trochus

George EDWARDS  (1693–1773)

Edwards was an English naturalist and ornithologist, known as the "father of British ornithology".

Edwards was born at Stratford, Essex. In his early years he travelled extensively through mainland Europe, studying natural history, and gained some reputation for his coloured drawings of animals, especially birds. In 1733, on the recommendation of Sir Hans Sloane, he was appointed librarian to the Royal College of Physicians in London..

In 1743 he published the first volume of his History of Birds, the fourth volume of which appeared in 1751, and three supplementary volumes, under the title Gleanings of Natural History, were issued in 1758, 1760 and 1764. The two works contain engravings and descriptions of more than 600 subjects in natural history not before described or delineated. He likewise added a general index in French and English, which was afterwards supplied with Linnaean names by Linnaeus himself, with whom he frequently corresponded..

About 1764 he retired to Plaistow, Essex, where he later died.

 

Reference:

Wikipedia

  black petrel

Benjamin FAWCETT  (1808–1893)

Benjamin Fawcett was one of the finest of the nineteenth century woodblock colour printers. Born in Bridlington in December 1808, he was the son of a ship’s master. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed for seven years to William Forth, a Bridlington bookseller and printer. In 1831 he set up in business as a bookseller, bookbinder, music seller, printer and stationer, in Middle Street, Driffield.

Many of his early printing projects were childrens’ books published by Webb & Millington of Leeds.

His first association with Reverend FO Morris was in 1844 or 1845, and was to last nearly 50 years. Morris produced the text for books which Fawcett financed and printed, which were usually illustrated by AF (Frank) Lydon (1836-1917), who had started as one of Fawcett’s apprentices. Unlike the earlier work of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), printing was in colour. This was initially achieved by hand colouring wood-engraved illustrations, and later by printing in colours from multiple wood blocks. Most of the works were published by Groombridge, of London.

Their first collaboration was probably Bible natural history, issued in sixpenny monthly parts in 1849, and completed in 1850. But their first great success was A History of British Birds, work on which probably began in 1848. Publication, which took over seven years to complete from June 1850, was undertaken in monthly parts costing one shilling. Each part contained 24 pages of letterpress and 4 hand-coloured plates. The final six volume work contained 358 coloured plates. One thousand copies of the first part were initially produced, but such was the demand that Fawcett quickly had to move into larger premises (East Lodge, Driffield).

A memoir written by the Rev. F.O. Morris' son, the Rev. M.C.F. Morris, titled "Benjamin Fawcett Colour Printer & Engraver", published in 1925 by Oxford University Press, contains the following account of Fawcett by fellow engraver, W.D. Ridley:

"Benjamin Fawcett was undoubtedly a born genius in the best sense of the word; for in a remote country town in the early days of railway facilities, when it must have been difficult to buy high-grade colour inks, he brushed all difficulties aside, purchased his own boxwood shipped direct from Turkey, matured it, sawed it in slices, surfaced it accurately, drew the whole of his work, Morris's British Birds, upon these blocks himself, and with the aid of his clever wife, actually produced the first edition so far as the blocks were concerned, ...."

"If there was a secret which produced the fine results it would have been... Benjamin Fawcett engraving every one of the three hundred and sixty plates for this work on wood with his own hand ... making the inks himself from the costliest powders and the most expensive varnishes procurable....and each specimen plate for the colourers painted by his wife. This, I believe, is an achievement without parallel in book production. The very best materials were used."

British Birds was quickly followed by A Natural History of the Nests and Eggs of British Birds and A History of British Butterflies, followed later by A History of British Moths. The last collaboration between Fawcett, Morris and Lydon was The county seats of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland. This again ran to six volumes, each with 40 coloured plates, and text by Morris.

The firm of Groombridge failed in about 1880, and it appears that neither Fawcett nor Morris made much money from their joint ventures.

Lydon and Fawcett also colaborated on Charles Robert Bree's, A History of the Birds of Europe Not Observed in the British Isles, published in London in 1863.

 

Reference:

Fine Bird Books,  The Brynmor Jones Library; Zimmer p.274; p. 79.

  Kea

Sarah FEATON  (1848–1927)

Sarah Featon was an accomplished botanical artist from New Zealand. Sarah, with her husband, made history in 1889 with the publication of their book The Art Album of New Zealand Flora, 1889. It was the first full-colour art book to be published in New Zealand. It contained descriptions of the native flowering plants of New Zealand and the adjacent islands.

Sarah created the artwork for the book and commissioned the chromo-lithography for the plates from Bock and Cousins, Wellington. The challenges of the technique and the high costs involved put the firm's partnership under such financial strain that it had to be dissolved.

A copy of the book was presented to Queen Victoria during her diamond jubilee.

Sarah suffered financial hardship later in life and sold the original artwork for the book to the Dominion Museum.

  Featon cover page

Frederick W. FROHAWK  (1861–1946)

Frederick W. Frowhawk was born in Norfolk, England. He was one of the leading ornithological artists of his time. At the age of 20 he was appointed zoological artist to The Field, a very important naturalist magazine in England. He was elected to the British Ornithologists Union in 1895 and became Fellow of the Entomological Soceity in 1891.

Frowhawk was a talented and prolific artist, producing over 1000 illustrations for various books including Aves Hawaiiensis, The Avicultural Magazine, and Birds of Laysan for Lord Rothschild. Along with J.G. Keulemans and P.J. Smit, he was one of the principal artists for the London Zoological Society. The PZS (Proceedings of the Zoological Society) is considered to be the "the most beautiful and rarest of all zoological journals continuing to produce fine hand coloured lithographs up to 1914".

 

 

Frederic du Cane GODMAN  (1834–1919)

During his school days at Cambridge Godman befriended Osbert Salvin and Alfred and Edward Newton, all ornithologists, and it wasn't long before his interests turned to ornithology and entomology.

In 1861 he joined Salvin for a natural history expedition to Central America; this laid the groundwork for the first section of his and Salvin's magnum opus, the Biologia Centrali-Americana, published in five volumes between 1879 and 1888. Godman continued as editor of the series even after Salvin died in 1898, with the set eventually extending to sixty-three volumes.

His other important works include Natural History of the Azores in 1870, and Monograph of the Petrels in 1907-1910. It is the most famous and spectacular of all publications on the true seabirds and still an important reference. The plates were coloured by Richard Bowdler Sharpe's daughters. An avid collector, Godman's private collection of specimens, which he donated to the British Museum, approached 200,000 in number. He was also one of the eight founders of the British Ornithologists' Union.

  Godman Chatham petrel

John GOULD  (1804–1881)

John Gould’s hand coloured folio size lithographs of birds along with Audubon’s Havell edition of Birds of America are undoubtedly the finest bird art in existence. No reproduction of these works can quite convey their beauty.

John Gould was a man loved, revered and hated. How you look on him depends on who you read and what you want to believe. Was he a loving father and husband or did he work his artist wife to the point of exhaustion? Did he have charm or was he really the uncouth glutton who ate a dozen budgerigars at one sitting? Gould has been described as having a heart of gold under a rough exterior, to some a generous man, but to others a penny pincher with an eye to the main chance. Possibly he was all of these, but from this distance in time we can be sure of at least two things. John Gould was a self–made man, and he left a legacy to the world of natural history that has seldom been rivalled.

With no formal education he commenced his working life at the age of 13, following in his father’s footsteps as a garden hand. A self–taught taxidermist, he was from an early age fascinated by nature in general and ornithology in particular.

At the age of 21 he set up his own taxidermy business in London, and in the London Directory for 1832–4, was listed as “a bird and beast stuffer”. The following year he appeared in the directory as “a naturalist”.

This was a time of world exploration and thousands of exotic and unknown animals were arriving in London as expeditions brought collections home. These specimens, for the most part dead and preserved, though with the occasional live animal, were bought on arrival by taxidermists, collectors and dealers in skins. They were prepared and then sold on to museums and private collections.

There was a craze for natural history and John Gould was in the perfect position to become an important player.

In 1828 Gould accepted the position of Curator and Preserver to the Museum of the Zoological Society of London, at a salary of £100 per annum. At the same time he continued his private taxidermy business, acted as advisor to national institutions and travelled widely in England and on the Continent, buying and selling specimens.

In 1829 Gould married Elizabeth Coxen, a governess and competent artist. In 1830 he published his first scientific paper. Three hundred more were to follow, many of them illustrated. Shortly after their marriage the Goulds began their magnificent publishing enterprise.

The surge of interest in natural history in the 19th century came at a time when book production exploded as a result of the harnessing of steam power to drive the printing presses. This wonderful combination sparked a light in Gould’s entrepreneurial eye. Cheaper, illustrated, popular titles were suddenly readily available to a larger portion of the reading population than ever before.

But this was not Gould’s chosen market. His books were to be high quality, expensive and financed by advance subscription. This was a proven method of publishing used in the two previous centuries, and an almost sure way of financing the production successfully.

In centuries past, printed books were illustrated by woodcuts, engravings and etchings. Lithography, though invented in the late eighteenth century, was not seen as a suitable method for animal illustration until used in 1818 in a German bird book. The English naturalist, William Swainson, who migrated to New Zealand, was an early convert to the process, using it for his Zoological illustrations in 1820–23.

Suddenly it was seen that lithography offered a new freedom to the artist, as the illustration could be drawn directly onto the chalky limestone block with special crayon pens. After the greasy crayon was applied, the block was washed with nitric acid and wiped with gum arabic.

The printing process is based on the antipathy of grease to water. The stone was made wet, and the oily ink applied. This only adhered to the area of the greasy crayon, recoiling from the dampened section. The paper was then placed upon the stone, run through a special printing press and the ink design was transferred in reverse to the paper.

Edward Lear, an extremely accomplished bird artist, better known to most people as the author and illustrator of A Book of Nonsense Rhymes, had taught Elizabeth Gould to produce lithographic blocks, and together they began to work on Gould’s early major works.

Over a period of fifty years, John Gould and his artists produced 14 titles in 49 volumes published in Imperial Folio format. Each bird or mammal was illustrated by a large, hand coloured lithograph — an amazing total of 2,999 individual plates. In addition there were several smaller books, each lavishly illustrated.

Following the traditional marketing strategy for such volumes, Gould’s books came out in parts; each part consisting of a number of hand coloured plates with Gould’s accompanying text dealing with each plate. Each part was issued in cardboard covers, the subscriber being responsible for the binding of the complete set when all parts had been received. Consequently, as each set was bound to the instructions of its owner, there is no “common” binding for any one title.

Gould’s advance publicity and prospectus was most successful. “Gould’s subscribers included 107 libraries, clubs and institutions, and no less than 12 Monarchs, 11 Royal Highnesses, 16 Dukes, 6 Marquises, 30 Earls, 5 Counts, 31 Honorables, 61 Baronets and one Bishop.”

A Century of Birds from the Himalayan Mountains [1830–33], was John Gould’s first ambitious undertaking. This comprised 80 lithographs, prepared by Elizabeth, depicting 100 species of birds, and giving the title “a century of birds”. The birds were originally sketched by Gould, painted by Elizabeth, and the plates then lithographed by Elizabeth. The printed plates were hand coloured by teams of professional colourists, to correspond to Elizabeth’s original water colour paintings.

Elizabeth’s brothers Charles and Stephen Coxen had emigrated to Australia, and settled in the Hunter Valley in NSW. They had sent Gould skins of some of the very colourful birds they had shot or trapped. Elizabeth had prepared illustrations of these birds for a book The Birds of Australia and adjacent islands but after twenty plates, Gould realised he needed many more specimens to continue. He abandoned this book, demanding that the subscribers return the parts already received. Some did, and the parts returned were re–used in the new books or destroyed. Those plates not returned, known as the “suppressed parts”, are consequently extremely valuable.

Once John Gould saw the necessity for a trip to Australia, he determined that Elizabeth must go too, in order to make her drawings on the spot. Elizabeth had given birth to six children, four surviving at this time and was a devoted and loving mother. However, she was also a devoted wife, and they arranged for the baby and two young children to stay with Elizabeth’s mother.

John and Elizabeth travelled to Australia in 1838 and spent 19 months during which time John collected many specimens new to science and prepared many drawings and watercolours for The Birds of Australia 1840–48, and The Mammals of Australia 1845–63, now considered to be his greatest scientific achievement.

Elizabeth worked hard in Australia. She had with her, her eldest son Henry, aged seven and a half, and gave birth to her seventh child, Franklin. At times she lived in camp with her husband and the children, and said in her journal that she produced drawings and watercolours day after day. She sorely missed her children and her letters to her mother clearly show how she longed to see them again.

Tragically, on their return from Australia, she died in 1841 aged 37, after the birth of her eighth child. Of the Gould’s eight children, six survived to adulthood. Gould had lost not only his much loved wife and mother of his children, but he had lost his principal illustrator. He also lost the services of the excellent artist Edward Lear.

Edward Lear, writer of nonsense rhymes, and artist and lithographer, began in 1830, to produce his own major work on parrots. This was Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae or Parrots. He sketched his birds from life at the Regent’s Park Zoo and drew them in reverse straight onto the lithographic stones, usually life size. With a subscribers’ list of 175, this must be seen as an amazing undertaking for a young man of 18. Unfortunately, Lear did not make any profit from the work, and stopped production after Part XII, but the collection of 42 hand-coloured lithographs was the first book of imperial folio lithographed birds published in Britain. John Gould bought up the remainder of Lear’s stock but never completed the work.

Lear taught Elizabeth Gould the art of lithography and assisted her with the plates for A century of birds... Gould did not acknowledge Lear’s contribution to these plates. Lear worked for six years with Gould on The birds of Europe. On some of the plates Lear’s signature is shown, but Gould persisted in putting his and Elizabeth’s names as artists and lithographers. This is shown as Del et lith to indicated the delineator or illustrator and the lithographer.

Gould felt that having paid for a lithograph, it was his property, and he had no compunction about putting his own name to it. When Gould failed to attribute Lear’s plates in the second edition volume on the Toucans, Lear began to feel badly done by. He continued to work with Gould on the monograph of the Trogons, and on the lithographs in Darwin’s Zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle.

Lear eventually left the partnership in a very ill humour, declaring Gould to be a harsh and violent man. “In this earliest phase of his bird–drawing he owes everything to his excellent wife, & myself, — without whose help in drawing he had done nothing.” (Jackson, C. E. 1975, p. 55.)

Gould was in the process of issuing the seven volume Birds of Australia and the Supplement when Elizabeth died and he was fortunate in finding a sympathetic artist and lithographer in H. C. Richter. Over the next seven years Richter used the skins and drawings John and Elizabeth had brought from Australia and produced the majority of the 681 plates. Richter worked with Gould on 32 drawings and plates of American partridges, and 360 drawings and lithographs for Gould’s Hummingbirds.

His best work for Gould is considered to be the Birds of Great Britain. Josef Wolf contributed drawings to this volume but Richter produced over 300 of the 367 plates and shared the lithography with William Hart. The Birds of Great Britain was originally published in 25 parts, two each year from 1862–1873. Each regular part, costing three guineas, provided fifteen handcolored lithographs and accompanying text. It was Gould’s most successful series; 486 subscribers are listed in Gould’s Introduction, published at the conclusion of the series in 1873.

Gould died before completion of The Birds of Asia. This was the final Gould book Richter worked on, contributing some 500 plates. Richter, from a family of renowned artists and artisans, also found time to produce plates for the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London and Sir Richard Owen’s Memoirs on the extinct wingless birds of New Zealand.

William Hart, another of Gould’s artists, was a colourer of plates and he continued this occupation while drawing and lithographing for Gould. He coloured Richter’s plates for the Hummingbirds, using lavish metallic paints. As artist and lithographer he worked on The Birds of Great Britain, The Birds of Asia, The Birds of New Guinea, A monograph of the Pittidae, the 2nd edition of A monograph of the Trogonidae, or the Trogons, and the supplement of A monograph of the Trochilidae, or family of Hummingbirds.

Josef Wolf was one of a group of Continental bird painters to settle in London in the second half of the 19th century and a pioneer in the field of animal illustration. He was an accomplished lithographer but by the time he drew for Gould he had abandoned lithography to devote his time to drawing and painting. He produced water colours for Gould’s Birds of Great Britain but objected to the way the lithographer filled in the backgrounds, and to the over colouring of the finished print. Both Gould and Richter liked a lot of colour, and this is one often made criticism of their work.

Apart from Hart, Gould’s other main colourist was Gabriel Bayfield, who led a team of professional colourists. Bayfield and his staff were responsible for the colouring of almost all of Gould’s plates between 1831 and 1861. This included 171,376 plates in Birds of Europe, 145,200 plates in Birds of Australia, 26,572 plates in Mammals of Australia to list a few very impressive figures. As Bayfield aged, Hart began to take over the business, and in 1861 became responsible for the colouring team.

Gould’s name lives on as “The Bird Man” and while it seems obvious he couldn’t have made his name without the assistance of a talented team of artists, lithographers and colourists, he was, nonetheless,a man with a vision; to bring birds to the world, and to make his fortune doing it.

 

Reference:

Prepared by Carol Cantrell as the basis for a talk to be presented to The Australian Museum Society, on 21 and 23 April, 1998.

Gould, Takahe   Gould, Takahe

George Robert GRAY  (1808–1872)

George Gray was an English zoologist and author and head of the ornithological section of the British Museum in London for forty-one years. George Gray's most important publication was his Genera of Birds, 1844-49, which included 46,000 references. He started at the British Museum as Assistant Keeper of the Zoology Branch in 1831. He began by cataloguing insects, and published an Entomology of Australia (1833) and contributed the entomogical section to an English edition of George Cuvier’s Animal Kingdom.

The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror was edited by G. R. Gray & R. Bowdler Sharpe. The part by G.R. Gray, The Birds of New Zealand, was first published in 3 parts about 1844/1845 and included 22 plates. The work remained unfinished until 1875, when the work was edited by R. Bowdler Sharpe, who added an appendix and the remaining 15 plates. The expedition of the H.M.S. Erebus and Terror took place in 1839-1845 under the Command of Capt. J.C. Ross. The published results of this exploratory voyage are quite scarce. This is especially the case for the section on the Birds of New Zealand.

David William Mitchell, Secretary to the Zoological Society (London) as well as Honorary Member of the Royal Zoological Society of Amsterdam and several learned societies, both drew and lithographed most of the plates for Genera of Birds. Following his appointment to the office of Secretary to the Zoological Society, he engaged the German painter, Joseph Wolf as his assistant, a young man he considered to "be the best available talent in Europe". Joseph Wolf had accepted an invitation to come to England from Antwerp in 1848, and given the assignment to help David Mitchell to complete the drawings for Genera of Birds and transfer them onto lithograph stones. Although originally hired as an assistant, his plates soon easily outstripped those of Mitchell and his works figure more prominently in the latter part of the work. Wolf’s contribution to the uncoloured detail plates included 345 heads alone, which combined scientific precision with artistic quality.

The Genera of Birds was published by Charles Joseph Hullmandell. He worked mainly in London, although he had trained in Paris as a painter and travelled extensively in Europe making topographical drawings. In 1817, on a visit to Munich, he was introduced to lithography by the pioneering lithographer Alois Senefelder. Dissatisfied with the way his work had been printed, Hullmandel set up his own lithographic press. The quality of work he published by himself and other artists helped popularise the topographical lithograph among British artists.

  Erebus & Terror, wrens

W.T. GREENE  

W. T. Greene’s Parrots in Captivity, was published in three volumes, the first two volumes issued in 18 parts in 1883, the remainder in 1887, and contains 81 colour plates of parrots, parakeets, lories and cockatoos, from illustrations by Alexander F. (Frank) Lydon and coloured wood engravings (chromoxylography), in most cases enhanced with gum-arabic, by Benjamin Fawcett.

A supplemental volume was commenced in 1888, of which only two parts (with nine additional plates) were ever issued. Now considered a classic work, Parrots in Captivity is very rare - copies appear on the market very infrequently as only one edition was ever printed. The two supplemental parts are rarer still.

  Kea

John GULLY  (1819–1888)  Artist and surveyor.

During the late 19th century colonial period, John Gully was one of New Zealand’s foremost watercolour painters and he specialised in romantic and atmospheric scenes. This earned him the title of the ‘New Zealand Turner’, referring to the English artist, J.M.W.Turner (1775 - 1851) who was famous for his atmospheric and romantic views of lofty mountains with mist-shrouded peaks. These were intended to evoke feelings of awe at the grandeur of nature.

In 1877 Henry Wise and Co., Dunedin, in conjunction with Marcus Ward and Co., London, published a portfolio, New Zealand Scenery, containing chromolithographs of some of Gully's paintings of New Zealand scenery, with descriptions by Dr Julius von Haast.

  Gully, Waimea Plains

Sir William Jackson HOOKER  (18??–18??)

William Jackson Hooker was Director of the Royal Gardens and Kew and was an important figure in the history of New Zealand's natural history.

In 1839, Sir James Clark Ross, who was a friend of William Jackson Hooker, offered his son, Joseph Dalton Hooker, the position of assistant surgeon on his expedition to the Antarctic in Her Majesty's discovery ships Erebus and Terror.

William Jackson Hooker is the editor of: A Century of Ferns, New, or Rare, or Imperfectly Known Species of Ferns, from Various Parts of the World, 1854.

  Hooker fern

George Vernon HUDSON  (1867–1946)

New Zealand is fortunate in having had one of the world’s truly great entomologists in George Vernon Hudson who migrated with his family to New Zealand in in 1881. At a very young age he began to draw and to paint the insects he saw and these meticulously executed miniature paintings enhanced all the books he published.

In 1885, he began the illustrations for An Elementary Manual of New Zealand Entomology which was completed before he was twenty, though not published until five years later in 1892. He eventually became employed in the Post office as a cadet and bought a property in Kaori in Wellington which became the centre of his entomological work, exceptional in that he was a true field entomologist and even reared insects in order to study their life histories.

In 1897 Hudson completed the first edition of New Zealand Moths and Butterflies which the following year was published in a handsome quarto volume in London. His research on the delicate aquatic insects and their strange looking larvae resulted in the publication of New Zealand Neuroptera, showing 89 coloured illustrations on eleven plates. Published in 1904, it became the standard work for scientists and laymen alike.

He dedicated all his books to “youthful entomologists and collectors”.

 

Reference:

New Zealand Insects and their Story, 1971, Richard Sharrell.

  Hudson, dragon moths

IBIS  (since 1859)

The International Journal of Avian Science published by the British Ornithologists’ Union. Published continuously since 1859.

 

 

John G. KEULEMANS  (1842–1912)

John G. Keulemans was a Dutch painter and illustrator who became famous as an artist and illustrator in England in the late 19th Century.

Keulemans brought a special expertise to lithographs of sunbirds. As a young man, he bought a plantation in West Africa, where he planned to spend his life. But the plantation failed and he went back to Europe to a highly successful career as an illustrator. His observations of sunbirds, remembered from Africa, combined with his general knowledge of the species enabled him to depict these birds for Shelley's Monograph of the Nectarinidae, 1876.

He worked most of his life in London illustrating, among other works, the massive twenty seven volume Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum published in 27 volumes from 1874 to 1898. Keulemans was a prolific painter and illustrator. He drew 73 plates for Elliot's Monograph of the Hornbills (1887-92), 120 plates for Bowdler Sharpe's Monograph on Kingfishers (1868-71), 149 for Seebohm's Monograph on Thrushes (1902) and 84 for Salvin's Biologia Cantral Americana (1879-1904), Henry E. Dresser's Birds of Europe, 1871 - 1896, and ,of course, he did the illustrations for both the first and second editions of Sir Walter Lawry Buller's (1838-1906), A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

The first edition of Buller's Birds of New Zealand was published in 1872-3 in an edition of 500 copies with only 36 hand coloured lithographic plates. The lithographic stones were then destroyed. The highly valuable first edition plates were hand coloured by Dr. R. Bowdler Sharpe's three daughters, Misses Dora Louise, Daisy Madeliner, and Sylvia Rosamund, with some copied from G. Edwards. Keuleman's background details were also coloured. Sometimes no water colour original exists where Keulemans drew his design directly on the stone and then coloured the first print himself as a guide to the hand colourers of further copies.

The demand for the first edition of Buller's Bird of New Zealand was such that Keulemans was persuaded to undertake a second edition which included details of many more species than the first and gives names, synonymies, detailed descriptions and elaborate accounts of the habits and distribution of the birds. Keulemans completely re-drew the plates for the original subjects as well as undertaking the additional plates of the newly discovered species. So, in terms of Keulemans canon of work the second edition must be considered a separate work.

The second edition was published in 13 parts between July 1887 and December 1888, the first 12 comprising text and 4 plates, the final part text only. The supplement, an attempt by Buller to bring the work up to date, appeared in two volumes (the British Museum received their copies in August 1905 and October 1906 respectively). Published in London: Taylor & Francis for the author, [1887-] 1888. 2 volumes, imperial quarto, (14 3/8 x 10 3/4 inches). 9page subscribers list. 48 chromolithographic plates by and after John Gerrard Keulemans (assisted by F. van Iterson), 2 uncoloured lithographic plates by E.Wilson after P.J. Smit, all printed by Judd & Co., numerous illustrations.

Although 1,000 sets of the 1888 edition were produced, a total of 251 copies were lost in the wrecks of the Matai and the Assaye in 1890 (Galbreath p.172). The Supplements were limited to 500 sets.

The plates of the second edition show Keulemans at his best and are superb examples of chromolithography. "The book itself is on a larger scale [than the first edition], being Imperial instead of Royal quarto, and the plates, instead of being handcoloured lithographs, have been produced by the more costly but more exact and satisfactory process of printing in colours ..." (Preface).

  Keulemans kiwi juvenile

John A. LATHAM  (1740–1837)

Dr John Latham was the pre–eminent ornithologist of his day. ‘Known as the Grandfather of Australian ornithology, he was the first to describe, and to name scientifically, a large number of Australian (and New Zealand) birds...’ (Whittell, The Literature of Australian Birds). He was a prominent figure in the formation of the Linnean Society in 1789 and a close associate of the leading scientific figures of his day, including Sir Joseph Banks, Thomas Pennant and Sir Ashton Lever, with whom he swapped specimens and reports of the latest ornithological discoveries. He built up a substantial collection of bird skins and a very fine library: ‘Latham dominated ornithology for half a century... It must always be borne in mind that Latham, as well as following his profession, visited all the museums, published his works, etched every copper plate in his original work, stuffed and set up almost every animal in his very extensive museum, and put together, with his own hands, a great many of the very cases in which they were disposed...’ (Gregory Mathews).

During Latham’s long lifetime there poured in upon him countless new discoveries from all parts of the world, but especially from the newly-explored shores of Australia and the islands of the Pacific Ocean. According the WRB Oliver, both the specimens and the drawings collected by the Forsters in the New Zealand region during Cook’s second voyage, together with those specimens collected during Cook’s first voyage were used by Latham when writing his General Synopsis of Birds (1781–1785). The Synopsis was limited to 500 copies.

The General History of Birds, (1821–28) which was to become his best–known work, is an expansion of his earlier General Synopsis of Birds. The General History contains 193 plates ‘including all the species in his former work as well as many additional ones, including Australian and New Zealand species in the collection of the Linnean Society...’ (Whittell). He designed, sketched and coloured the illustrations himself.

The German edition of Lathams A General Synopsis of Birds (London 1781-1785), Allgemeine Ubersicht der Vogel was published from 1792-1812 in Nuremberg in 4 volumes, was edited by J. M. Bechstein and included 183 hand-colored engravings. All of the engravings offered at this time are from the earlier volumes in the last years of the 18th century. Reference to Lathams works can be found in Sitwells Fine Bird Books (pg 114) and Jacksons Dictionary of Bird Artists of the World (pg 329).

Each engraving is on fine chain-lined paper that measures approximately 8 1/4 x 10 1/4 inches.

  Latham, Titmouse

Edward LEAR  (1812–1888)

In the 1860s Edward Lear described himself as ‘Greek Topographical Painter par excellence’, aspiring to the title of ‘Painter-Laureate and Boshproducing-Luminary forthwith’ (quoted in 1983 exh. cat., p. 14). This whimsical summary of his versatile activities as topographical draughtsman, oil painter, traveller, writer and illustrator of nonsense rhymes and stories is typical of Lear’s idiosyncratic literary style. It reflected his eccentric personality.

Edward Lear began in 1830, to produce his own major work on parrots. This was Illustrations of the family of Psittacidae or Parrots. He sketched his birds from life at the Regent’s Park Zoo and drew them in reverse straight onto the lithographic stones, usually life size. With a subscribers’ list of 175, this must be seen as an amazing undertaking for a young man of 18. Unfortunately, Lear did not make any profit from the work, and stopped production after Part XII, but the collection of 42 hand-coloured lithographs was the first book of imperial folio lithographed birds published in Britain. John Gould bought up the remainder of Lear’s stock but never completed the work.

Lear taught Elizabeth Gould the art of lithography and assisted her with the plates for A Century of Birds. Gould did not acknowledge Lear’s contribution to these plates. Lear worked for six years with Gould on The Birds of Europe. On some of the plates Lear’s signature is shown, but Gould persisted in putting his and Elizabeth’s names as artists and lithographers. This is shown as Del et lith to indicated the delineator or illustrator and the lithographer.

Gould felt that having paid for a lithograph, it was his property, and he had no compunction about putting his own name to it. When Gould failed to attribute Lear’s plates in the second edition volume on the Toucans, Lear began to feel badly done by. He continued to work with Gould on the monograph of the Trogons, and on the lithographs in Darwin’s Zoology of the voyage of the H.M.S. Beagle. Lear eventually left the partnership in a very ill humour, declaring Gould to be a harsh and violent man. “In this earliest phase of his bird-drawing he owes everything to his excellent wife, & myself, — without whose help in drawing he had done nothing.” (Jackson, C. E. 1975, p. 55).

Sir William Jardine (1800-1874) was a key figure in the history of Victorian science. He owned the finest private natural history museum and library in Britain and made the study of natural history widely available by editing and issuing The Naturalist’s Library in forty small, well-illustrated, and relatively affordable volumes. Naturalist’s Library is a monument to Victorian industry and zeal for natural history education. On account of the high-quality hand-coloured illustrations, it is seldom found complete. The work is divided into four main sections: Ornithology, Mammalia, Entomology and Ichthyology; each was prepared by a leading naturalist. Among the artists who contributed to this massive work was Edward Lear, whose illustrations include 1 uncoloured and 37 coloured plates in Mammalia vol. II (1834); 1 uncoloured and 31 coloured plates in Ornithology vol. V (Pigeons, 1835); and 1 uncoloured and 31 coloured plates in Ornithology vol. VI (Parrots, 1836).

  Lear Kaka

René Primevère LESSON  (1794–1849)

Lesson was a French surgeon and naturalist. He served as surgeon on the round-the-world voyage of La Coquille (1822-1825) commandered by Louis Isadore Duperrey, and was also responsible for collecting natural history specimens with his fellow surgeon Prosper Garnot. He was the first naturalist to see live birds of paradise in the Moluccas and New Guinea.

On returning to Paris he spent seven years preparing the vertebrate zoological section of the official account of the expedition, Voyage au tour du monde sur La Coquille (1826-39). During this time he also produced Manuel d'Ornithologie (1828), Traité d'Ornithologie (1831), Centurie Zoologique (1830-32) and Illustrations de Zoologie (1832-35). He also produced several monographs on hummingbirds and one book on birds of paradise.

  Lesson, Brown Kiwi, Apteryx australis

William LEWIN  (1747–1795)

William Lewin was a London born illustrator turned natural history artist. The first edition of his Birds of Great Britain, published in 1789, was a remarkable undertaking as it contained 323 original watercolor illustrations (271 birds, 52 eggs), each of which he painted 60 copies, together nearly twenty thousand individual pictures, is considered “the most amazing, enduring, and endearing one-man feat” in the entire field of English ornithology. It is considered to be “the rarest of all English bird books”.

According to Swainson, Lewin was “the best zoological painter, and one of the most practical naturalists of his day”. He was patronised by the Dutchess of Portland and various eminent men of his day.

Not surprisingly, the demand for Lewin’s fine work and the limits imposed by his method led him in 1793 to begin a second edition of etched plates, allowing for relatively more copies to be published. Lewin, who was reaching the end of his life, was joined in this project by his three talented sons, Thomas, Thomas William, and John William. It was published in parts from 1794 to 1801. The hand-coloring was carried out “under his immediate direction”.

Very little is known of the life of Lewin except that he was a fellow of the Linnean Society in 1791, and lived in the village of Darenth in Kent. It is believed that he died at the end of 1795; certainly the Linnean Society records for 1797 refer to him as “the late...” Mr. Lewin separated himself from his contemporaries in one important way — in that he was involved in the entire process — not only did he paint the various birds, but he also performed the actual engraving of the plates.

  Lewin black bird

Trevor LLOYD, Artist, illustrator, cartoonist,  (1863-1937):

Lloyd was a pioneer of etching in New Zealand and one of the country's leading political cartoonists for 32 years.

He was born in New Zealand and in the early 1900s he moved to Auckland where he began earning a living from his art. His first commission was to illustrate stories and articles in the New Zealand Illustrated Magazine. He also produced a series of illustrations for the New Zealand Graphic. Early in 1903 he joined the Auckland Weekly News as an illustrator, graphic artist and cartoonist. From 1904 his cartoons also appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

During the 1905 All Black tour to Britain, he drew one of the first New Zealand cartoons using the kiwi as a symbol for New Zealand. Lloyd also caught the public imagination by dubbing the New Zealand Railways the ‘New Zealand Snailways’. However, in 1921 he began to contribute pen-and-ink drawings to the Saturday supplement of the New Zealand Herald. Lloyd's daughters both attended the Elam School of Art, and after seeing samples of their print-making, he took up etching and drypoint.

Over the years he produced sepia etchings of Maori subjects, the New Zealand bush and Auckland's environs. It is perhaps for his etchings that he is best known.

Lloyd was particularly interested in Maori culture and language. He became well known for his decorative borders in the Christmas number of the Auckland Weekly News, which appeared around photographic montages and featured New Zealand flora, fauna and Maori motifs. Lloyd also used Maori motifs and people in his cartoons. The family bach, in the Waitakere Range west of Auckland, was built in the shape of a Maori meeting house with Lloyd supplying the carvings. He chose the name Whare Tane for the family home and accumulated a considerable collection of Maori artefacts. He found many pieces while fossicking with his dog along and around the beaches, pa sites and caves of Auckland's rugged west coast. A significan part of the collection is now held by the Auckland Institute and Museum.

There are more than thirty postcards produced by various publishers. They date from around the early 20th century.

  Trevor Lloyd postcard, Hands Across the Sea Trevor Lloyd postcard, The MOA and the Lion

Edward Joseph LOWE  (1825–1900)

As the nineteenth century progressed, so did the art of the botanical illustration. A trend in collecting single groups or families of plants spurred the development of the illustrated monograph. Particular types of plants went through periods of popularity, and artists tried to keep up with those trends. There were monographs on tulips, roses, geraniums, and even heaths. Orchidomania reached its peak from about 1830 to 1850; it was succeeded by Fernmania, which lasted until the end of the century.

Edward Joseph Lowe’s eight-volume Ferns: British and Exotic was a direct result of Fernmania. His fascination with ferns led him to study and paint them throughout the entire second half of the nineteenth century. The first volume of Ferns: British and Exotic was published in 1856. His career culminated in 1895 with Fern Growing; Fifty Years Experience in Crossing and Cultivation. They were printed with engraved woodblocks by Benjamin Fawcett and designed and engraved by A.F.Lydon. There were a number of New Zealand ferns included in the volumes.

  Lowe, fern

Francis Orpen MORRIS (Reverend)  (1810–1893)

The inspiration for Francis Orpen Morris' A History of British Birds actually came from the renowned English printer, Benjamin Fawcett, who approached Morris to write the text when Morris became Vicar of Nafferton. Morris had a reputation as a popular writer on natural history in general and birds in particular. His first book had appeared as early as 1834,  A guide to an arrangement of British birds.

However, his association with Benjamin Fawcett was to have remarkable results, particularly for the study of ornithology. A History of British Birds was entirely printed and bound in the small North Country village of Driffield, Fawcett’s residence and shop, and shipped in tea chests to London. It was a resounding success.

Work on A History of British Birds probably began in 1848. Publication, which took over seven years to complete from June 1850, was undertaken in monthly parts costing one shilling. Each part contained 24 pages of letterpress and 4 hand-coloured plates. The final six volume work contained 358 coloured plates. One thousand copies of the first part were initially produced, but such was the demand that Fawcett quickly had to move into larger premises.

Alexander Francis Lydon was one of Fawcett’s principal engravers, contributing much in technique and design. A team of women colorists under very strict scrutiny first from Fawcett then his wife (a former colourist herself) hand colored each plate.

Morris became an early advocate for conservation and was instrumental in founding the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Various Editions of a History of British Birds were published from c.1851 to c.1903. All were published with the hand-colouring of the time.

1ST EDITION: 1851-57. 358 Hand coloured plates. Overall Size 10x6 inches approximately. Engraved on Turkish boxwood, printed and hand coloured using handmade delicate inks printed on finest quality wove French paper featuring the distinctive biscuit coloured background found only in the authentic Royal Octavo-sized First Edition printing.

FURTHER EDITIONS TO c.1903. The content varied between 358 and 400 plates. 10x6 inches. Plain Background.

CABINET EDITIONS (Groombridge) c.1865 onwards.

These contained exactly the same engravings, but the paper size was c.7x5 inches.

In personal correspondence from Rev. M.C.F. Morris (son of Rev. F.O. Morris) dated 12 April 1932 to William Appleyard, an heir of one of the original subscribers to his father's work, Morris remarks:

“I am glad to hear that yours is the FIRST EDITION of my father’s [History of British] ‘Birds’ for that is by far the best and most valuable; because the plates being engraved on wood, are much sharper in this than in the later editions. Queen Victoria’s Consort, Prince Albert, as he was then called, was much interested in the work, and could not understand how a work of that character could have been produced in a small town like Driffield; but Fawcett was no ordinary man.... When the work was completed two copies of it were sent to the Queen who had been graciously pleased to have the books dedicated to her. One of these copies was placed in the Library at Windsor Castle, and the other, the Prince presented to the Library at Wellington College.”

 

Reference:

Fine Bird Books, p. 125, & Benjamin Fawcett, p. 77.

  Morris rook

Charles d’ORBIGNEY  (1806–1876)

Charles d’Orbigney was a French botanist and geologist. His brother Alcide (1802-1857) was a naturalist who made major contributions in many areas, including zoology, palaeontology, geology, archaeology and anthropology. The Dictionnaire Universel d'Histoire Naturelle (Dictionary of Natural History) edited by Charles D’Orbigny, is regarded as one of the best illustrated encyclopedias of natural history. The Dictionary is typical of the books of this period, featuring highly detailed and scientifically accurate illustrations to appeal to both the academic and general public. Other topics included mammals, birds, insects, fish, plants. The beautifully hand colored plates are by French artists such as Susemihl, Travies, Oudart and Pretre. First published in 1849, by Renard and Martinet in Paris. There was a later 1861 edition.

d'Orbigney, Peacock  

Sir Joseph PAXTON  (1803–1865)

was born in 1803 (not 1801 as often stated).  The son of a farmer, he rose from his humble beginnings to become not only a prolific author/editor, but also a preeminent gardener, a Member of Parliament,  a noted (and innovative) architect and town planner, and a benefactor of the railways. Together with Charles Dickens, he founded the newspaper the ‘Daily News’, of which Dickens was the first editor and, through his architecture, even inspired the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

He designed large greenhouses for the Duke at Chatsworth (including one for the Giant Water Lily), and these were used as the basis for his successful design of the Great Exhibition (1850–1851) building, the Crystal Palace, which used the idea of a simple repeating motif to achieve an economical yet harmonious building. Over 233 designs were submitted for the building to house the “Great Exhibition of the Works of All Nations.” Joseph Paxton produced his design for a Crystal Palace on a piece of blotting paper, then submitted the final design in less than 9 days. The building itself was erected in just six months, a remarkable building with 293,655 panes of glass, 330 huge iron columns, and 24 miles of gutters. He continued to work on landscape gardening and laying out of public parks, but also designed various country houses and other domestic buildings.

As a botanical artist Paxton produced ‘The Magazine of Botany’, and ‘Register of Flowering Plants’. This series of magazines was published in London 1834–1849. The ‘Magazine of Botany’ was published in 16 Volumes containing a total of 717 hand–colored plates, either drawn and engraved by Frederick W.Smith, or drawn and lithographed by Samuel Holden. The work is noted for the large number of exotic plants depicted, including many orchids, and for the richness and vibrancy of the hand–coloring.

During the years of 1850–1852, Paxton along with John Lindley published the rare three–volume work: Paxton’s Flower Garden.  A later, more common, 1882 edition was also produced. His other botanical achievements include the authorship of the ‘Horticultural Register’ (1831–36) and ‘Practical Treatise on the Culture of the Dahlia’ (1838) and co–founded, again with Lindley, the magazine the ‘Gardener’s Chronicle’.

Paxton died in Sydenham, England in 1865.

  Paxton, Veronica speciosa,  Hebe

George SHAW  (1751–1813)

Vivarium Naturae, the Naturalist’s Miscellany, by George Shaw (1751-1813) and Frederick Polydor Nodder (1773-1801) was published between 1790-1813 in monthly parts.

George Shaw was the first zoologist to concentrate on Australian species and the first to depict the Kiwi.

The majority of the plates are by Richard Nodder, Frederick's son. It includes 281 plates of birds, 256 insects (of which 162 are butterflies or moths), 164 fish, 84 shells, 58 reptiles or amphibians, 32 mammals or marsupials and of the remaining 191 plates, 14 are of crustacea.

  Shaw Apteryx Shaw Apteryx

Joseph SMIT  (1836–1929)

Joseph Smit was born in the Netherlands. He was invited to Britain by Philip Sclater in 1866 and did the lithography for Sclater’s Exotic Ornithology. He also did the lithography for Joseph Wolf’s Zoological Sketches (second series), as well as Daniel Elliott’s monographs on the Phasianeidae and Paradiseida. Smit contributed regularly to the Transactions and the Proceedings of the Zoological Society, Ibis, and The Field.

Beginning in the 1870s, he worked on the massive Catalogue of Birds in the Museum, and later on the Lord Lilford’s Coloured Figures of the Birds in the British Museum. “Considered ... the best animal painter in England after the death of J. Wolf”

Reference:

— S. Peter Dance.

  Smit, leopard seal

TZS  (1835–1984)  (Transactions of the Zoological Society of London)

Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 1835-1984 is considered to be the most beautifully illustrated zoological journal ever published and of especial interest to ornithologists. The first 10 volumes have 822 lithographs many of which are beautifully hand-coloured by such illustrators as Wolf, Gould, Lear, Smit and Keulemans.

  Little Bush Moa,

Dumont d’URVILLE  (1790–1842)

Dumont d’Urville commanded his first expedition to gain additional information about the principal groups of islands in the Pacific and to augment the mass of scientific data acquired by Louis Duperry.

The Astrolabe sailed south, around the Cape of Good Hope, and arrived at Port Jackson. Proceeding to New Zealand, its coast, especially the southern part of Cook Strait, was surveyed with great care. Tonga and parts of the Fiji Archipelago were explored, then New Britain, New Guinea, Amboina, Tasmania, Vanikoro, Guam, and Java. The return home was by way of Mauritius and the Cape of Good Hope.

There were two further expeditions and a huge amount of scientific materials were collected and published.

The natural historical results of the famous expeditions to the Pacific were published in a multi-volume set on Zoology by Quoy and Gaimard, and two separately published volumes on Entomology: one on Butterflies and one on Beetles. The plates to all natural history volumes were usually published in one atlas, because of the large size of the plates. The first edition was published in Paris by Tastu, 1830-34.

  d’Urville skeleton

Joseph WOLF  (18??–18??)

The Zoological Society of London commissioned the German-born Wolf to begin water colours to document the animals at the Zoo in Regent's Park. Regent's Park had been opened in 1828 and had many species from across the globe including the first live African elephant ever brought to England.

Wolf is often considered the best animal painter of all time. He completed over 25 plates for John Gould's famous works as well. Each of Wolf's plates are known for their scientific nature and artistry. Wolf drew animals in their natural settings and helped pave the way for modern wildlife art.

Wolf, seabear

 

Nature