The Birds of America, from Original Drawings by John James Audubon... Reissued by J[ohn] W[oodhouse] Audubon.

Lot Number 124
Author AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851).
Title The Birds of America, from Original Drawings by John James Audubon... Reissued by J[ohn] W[oodhouse] Audubon.
Year Published 1860
Place Printed New York
Printed By Roe Lockwood & Son
Description AUDUBON, John James (1785-1851). The Birds of America, from Original Drawings by John James Audubon... Reissued by J[ohn] W[oodhouse] Audubon. New York: Roe Lockwood & Son, 1860.
Comments Double elephant broadsheets (1007 x 674 mm). Lithographed title, 150 CHROMOLITHOGRAPHIC PLATES ON 105 SHEETS, some finished by hand, by Julius Bien after J.J.Audubon. (Title with vertical crease crossing text, first two plates with soft vertical crease, plate 21 with some offsetting, plate 95/70 with some marginal staining, plates 255, 278, and 375 slightly browned, very pale small occasional dampstain in lower margin, small tears in lower margins of two plates, some occasional pale spotting.) Contemporary half calf, marbled boards, spine in six compartments, gilt-lettered in one (wear at extremities, rubbed, front joint repaired, front free endpapers with some tears and small losses). A FINE COPY OF THE SECOND FOLIO EDITION. In 1858 or 1859 John Woodhouse Audubon set out to reproduce his father's Birds of America at half the original cost by producing full-size chromolithographic reproductions of the original hand-colored aquatint plates, and by printing the smaller format plates two to a sheet. To carry out the project he enlisted the well-known cartographer and printmaker Julius Bien, who transferred the etchings onto stone, printing the colors and using additional hand-coloring only where necessary. The work was to have been issued in 45 parts, of which one would contain the text, for a total subscription price of $500. Only the first 15 parts and the 7 volumes of octavo text were published, however, before the printing was interrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War, and, it was rumored, by the shady dealings of certain financial backers. "Although only one-third completed when the project collapsed in 1861, the Bien Audubon is the largest and most ambitious color plate book undertaken in 19th-century America, rivaled only by the folio Quadrupeds" (Reese 40). Although a complete full-size reprint of the folio Birds of America had to wait for the Johnson Reprint Corporation's facsimile edition of 1971-1973, the 150 plates reproduced by Bien include many of Audubon's most famous images, such as the wild turkey, the barn owl, the flamingo and the white-headed eagle. The number of copies has not been established, but Fries had succeeded in locating 49 by 1973. This copy has a variant imprint, dated 1860 but with no mention of Julius Bien. The plates, as usual, are dated from 1858-1860, with most numbered with the part and series number at the upper left and the final number (corresponding to the author's 1839 Synopsis) at upper right. Ayer/Zimmer pp. 24-25; Ellis/Mengel 102 (a fragment); Fries, Appendix B, pp. 355-59; Nissen IVB 50; Reese, Stamped with a National Character 40.
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Provenance
Estimated Price USD 200,000.00 - 300,000.00
Actual Price USD 422,500.00

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AUCTION DETAILS

Auction House Christies
Website http://www.christies.com
Auction Name Books and Manuscripts Session I
Sale Number #2607
Auction Date December 7, 2012 - December 7, 2012
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